TWO SCHOOLS in County Cork have sent a letter to parents with advice regarding the coronavirus after students embarked on mid-term trips to Italy.
Several areas in North Italy have been struck by the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, in the past few days, with the current death toll at 12.
One such school, Coláiste Críost Rí in the Turner's Cross area, issued a letter to parents reassuring them not to worry but advising on what to do should one of their children feel ill.
A number of students had taken part in a school ski trip last week, and while they were not staying in a region where the virus has been identified, they did pass through Milan airport, which is close to several affected areas.
In the letter to parents, seen by Cork Beo, the school said:
"Due to coronavirus concerns we are keeping an eye on the situation and all developments. There is no need for concern at the moment.
"To be clear, we were not staying or skiing in the region where the virus has been identified, we did however pass through Milan airport briefly."
The same outlet had earlier reported on another letter sent by Christ King Secondary School, an all-girls school which had recently returned from a trip to northern Italy for their transition year students.
Cork Beo reports that the letter, sent to parents and signed by the principal, states: "There are concern[s]as to what consequences [the trip] may have with regard to the coronavirus COVID-19. The Principal has been in contact with the HSE and the advice to date is if your daughter is feeling unwell to contact your doctor for medical advice.
"The HSE have informed the public through their website symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear and should your daughter present with a cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties or a fever to please seek medical advice."
At least two Irish citizens are confirmed to have the virus. They were travelling on Japan's Princess Diamond cruise ship when it was quarantined due to a passenger being confirmed to be carrying the infection, and subsequently contracted it themselves.
While there is so far no confirmed cases on Irish soil, Health Minister Simon Harris has recommended the upcoming Ireland v Italy Six Nations match be cancelled in an effort to prevent the virus from reaching Ireland.