The Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland has confirmed that a citizen returning from northern Italy via Dublin Airport has been diagnosed with Covid-19.

The patient took steps to self-isolate after contacting their GP, with the diagnosis then being confirmed in an English laboratory.

Chief medical officer Dr. Michael McBride said the health service would be able to cope with the virus, however.

“Our health service is well used to dealing with such infections and I want to reassure the public that we are prepared,” Dr McBride said.

“The risk to population of NI has not changed as a result of this presumptive positive test result.”

Steps are now being taken to identify people whom the patient came in contact with, but McBride insisted that those with passing contact need not be concerned.

It’s thought that the patient is now receiving specialist care in the Royal Victoria Hospital’s isolation unit in Belfast.

The Public Health Agency confirmed yesterday that 52 people had been tested in Northern Ireland, but all had been negative up until now.

The total number of UK cases now stands at 16 after two more patients tested positive for coronavirus today.