While the HSE prepares itself for a possible outbreak of coronavirus, Asian communities in Ireland are also bracing themselves for a surge of racist attacks and discrimination.
Although there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in Ireland, numerous ethnic Asians across the country have spoken out about being openly discriminated against.
But if the coronavirus does happen to reach Irish shores, many believe that racist fear-mongering and bigotry will reach frightening proportions.
Cindy Liu, who represents about 500 Chinese professionals in Ireland, told the Irish Independent that discrimination and misinformation has the power to spread much faster than any virus.
She also claims many Chinese restaurants across the country have experienced a massive drop in business in recent weeks.
"Established restaurants that have been operating in Ireland for more than 20 years are experiencing losses of nearly 30pc, while the newer ones are down by more than 70pc," she said.
"I think some people have an illogical fear that they will somehow be exposed to coronavirus if they eat food at an Asian restaurant.
"It doesn't make sense, but at the end of a day people will always have a choice about where they want to eat.
"But every time I go out now, I make sure to eat at a Chinese restaurant because they need as much support as possible."
Ms Liu, who is the chairperson of the Association of Chinese Professionals in Ireland, added people who have recently returned from China are doing whatever it takes to minimise contamination risks. There are more than 100 Chinese people who have put themselves in self-isolation for two weeks.
"Thankfully, the virus hasn't spread here yet, but if it does I fear that racism towards the community will inevitably get worse," she said.
"But I still believe that it's just a very small proportion of people who harbour these uninformed beliefs. The majority of Irish people have been very understanding and sympathetic."
While the coronavirus has infected more than 75,000 people and killed more than 2,100 worldwide, it's caused far fewer deaths than the flu.
Globally, an estimated 290,000 to 650,000 people die from the flu each year, according to the World Health Organisation.
A total of 78 people have been tested for the virus in Ireland, and while no one has tested positive, health authorities are said to be "well rehearsed" in deploying protocols at airports and ports.
Chinese/Korean artist Jin Yong told the Irish Independent recently that he has seen a notable difference in the way Asian people are being treated in recent months.
"I've been living here for 18 years and have never seen such high levels of intolerance and abuse towards the Chinese community," he said.
"A young woman was attacked in Dublin a few weeks ago by a group of other girls who were shouting, 'You brought the virus here' while spitting and punching her.
"One of my friends also told me a group of random people started shouting 'virus, virus' at her while she was walking in the city centre.
"Many of my Asian friends are living in fear because of the daily reports of abuse, but it's not just happening in Ireland. All over the world Asian communities are being harassed."
Mr Yong added the misinformation being spread on social media is worrying.
"There's an image that's being constantly shared of two Asian people eating a bat. The post implies that Chinese are responsible for the outbreak of coronavirus because they always eat bats.
"But in reality, these two people are Indonesian who were taking part in a travel programme.
"I grew up in China and never even heard that there were people who eat bats so it's definitely not a common cuisine.
"I've been told on Facebook my family who live in China deserve to die, but I know that's the price to pay when you speak out."
Irishman Ben Kavanagh's videos of the coronavirus- stricken city went viral. After being evacuated, Ben tells Tanya Sweeney how he hopes that he'll soon be able to return to the city he now calls home.