ANOTHER seven people have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the Republic to 13.
Among those is a case of coronavirus that has been detected for the first time in a patient who had not travelled overseas.
In total 13 people have now been diagnosed with coronavirus in the Republic.
Four of the new cases are men from the east of the country and are linked to travel from northern Italy.
Two of the newly-diagnosed patients are females in the west of the country and are associated with close contact to already-known cases in Co Clare.
A person in Cork has contracted the virus - but unlike other Irish cases they have not been to northern Italy in recent weeks.
It is also believed the person was not in contact with any of the existing known cases. This raises the spectre of community spread of the virus.
One health source indicated the latest case may indicate that the virus has been undetected within the community in Ireland for some time before the first case was confirmed.
Cork University Hospital (CUH) has now displayed 'infection outbreak' signs and warned that visitors are not allowed within specific sections of the hospital.
It is understood the detection involves a Corkman.
He was being treated for a separate and unrelated health condition at CUH.
All those who were in close proximity to the patient in CUH will now have to be traced and tested.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) said the restrictions at CUH were in accordance with infection control protocols.
"This is in the interest of patient care and in order to prevent infections within the hospital."
However, the CUH emergency department remains open and routine ward operations are continuing as normal.
All outpatient appointments at the hospital that were scheduled for tomorrow have been cancelled.
"All patients will be rescheduled as soon as possible. Cork University Hospital apologises for any inconvenience this may cause to patients," a hospital spokeswoman said.
There were already six confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Republic - two in Dublin and four in Clare.
All four in Clare involve members of the same family.
An adult in the family worked within the health sector.
All Irish cases up until now had been linked to travel to northern Italy which has experienced Europe's highest concentration of virus cases.
In all Irish cases, the patients are responding well to treatment.
Multiple suspected cases in Cork and Kerry over the past three weeks have tested negative for the virus.
The Cork detection came after doctors were investigating why the patient, who was being treated for a long-term health issue, was still unwell despite specific medications being administered.
One theory is that he had come into contact with a person who had returned from Italy and was carrying the coronavirus but had dismissed it as a cold or flu.
The HSE said this evening that they are rapidly trying to identity anyone the patients may have had contact with and to provide them with advice about how to prevent it spreading further.
Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer with the Department of Health, said: "Ireland remains in containment phase with just one case of community transmission. This is, however, a rapidly evolving situation. Public health doctors are working hard to ensure our containment measures are operating effectively.
"Most people who become infected with Covid-19 experience a mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for some.
"However, this will need a national effort. Every individual needs to be aware of how to protect their own health and the health of others."
Independent.ie has learned that Trinity College sent an email to staff and students tonight to inform them that there had been a confirmed case of coronavirus on campus.
In a separate development, a Cork private hospital has also banned all visitors from its campus.
The Mater Private Cork posted a note on social media advising that visitor access was now being restricted "in the interest of patient safety."
In a statement, the Mater said it was acting in the best interests of its patients.
"Mater Private Cork is not a designated receiving hospital for suspected or confirmed cases of novel coronavirus - the designated hospitals in Cork as per HSE and HPSC are CUH and the Mercy hospital," it stated.
"As a precaution, on the advice of experts and in the interest of patient safety, Mater Private Cork is restricting visitor access until further notice.
"All patient appointments will continue as normal."
A post-primary school leader says schools must trust the advice of the Department of Health on coronavirus, but parents were entitled to make their own decisions about whether to keep a child with a medical condition at home.
Racegoers are being urged to stay away from next week's Cheltenham Festival if they are experiencing symptoms associated with coronavirus, have travelled through high-risk countries or been in contact with anyone who has.
HSE Chief Executive Officer Paul Reid said that there is no cause for panic but that Covid-19 is likely to spread in Ireland, as he urged the public to follow advice on cleanliness.