By Aine McMahon, PA
Health officials on both sides of the border are on alert following the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland on Thursday evening.
The adult patient had returned from northern Italy, travelling from Dublin in the Republic of Ireland, chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride said.
The positive result has been sent to Public Health England laboratories for verification.
Chief Medical Officer Dr.Michael McBride says a person with Coronavirus in Northern Ireland travelled here from the Republic of Ireland. People who may have been in close contact are being traced, but people are being told not to be alarmed amid efforts to contain Covid-19. pic.twitter.com/r4PmTvZhuc— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) February 27, 2020
A special unit has been established at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for isolating those suffering from the virus but the health authorities were unable to confirm where the individual is being treated.
The individual followed advice in reporting concerns to a GP and "self isolated" at home whilst awaiting the results of testing.
Ireland's Health Minister, Simon Harris, said it was "not unexpected" and is to meet staff at Dublin Airport activating the public awareness campaign for Covid-19 on Friday morning.
The Republic's National Public Health Emergency Team has been planning for this scenario since January.
The minister said the public should continue to adhere to public health protocols issued by the Department of Health.
Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer in the Department of Health told RTE news, the individual who was infected came forward and followed the instructions given by health authorities.
He said the Health Service Executive in the Republic of Ireland will be contacting people who sat within two rows of the person on the plane from northern Italy to Dublin.
#Coronavirus latest: Advice ‘has not changed’ in Northern Ireland after a first case of Covid-19 is confirmed. The patient is said to be receiving specialist care after calling a GP with concerns & self isolating. They had travelled here from Northern Italy via Dublin: 🎥 pic.twitter.com/aNQT4GEsET— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) February 27, 2020