The Department of Health has said there have been 15 suspected cases of coronavirus tested in the National Virus Reference Laboratory.
However there are still no confirmed cases in Ireland.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said: "The event of a confirmed case of coronavirus in Ireland is possible, given the increase in cases we are seeing internationally.
"Ireland has comprehensive public health and emergency plans in place and is prepared for the event of a confirmed case, should one arise."
Dr Cillian De Gascun, chair of the Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group, added: "We have not seen sustained human-to-human transmission in any other country outside China, which is a positive indicator for our containment measures.
"We will continue to monitor the spread and evolution of the virus because there is still a lot to learn, and advise the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) accordingly."
The department says Ireland is "well positioned" to detect and respond to a case that might arise here.
The HSE says it has been working with frontline staff over recent weeks in response to the virus.
Some 3,000 personal protection packs have issued to GPs and clinics around the country and will be received in the coming days.
Meanwhile, a third person in the UK has tested positive for coronavirus, the Department of Health there has said.
The person did not contract it in Britain or China, but another Asian country the department would not specify.
The death toll from mainland China jumped by 73 people on Thursday to 563 - mostly in Hubei province - with 28,018 confirmed infections inside the world's second largest economy.
Outside mainland China, 26 cases have been reported in the EU and the UK.
There are 12 cases in Germany, six in France, two cases in Italy, one case in Belgium, one in Finland, one case in Spain and one case in Sweden.
The coronavirus is spread through contact and droplets - so the HSE says good cough and sneeze hygiene, with regular hand washing, is the best way to keep well.
It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of coronavirus to show.