Students living in on-campus accommodation at Trinity College Dublin have been asked to leave their rooms amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
In an email to staff and students this evening, it was confirmed that at least eight positive cases of coronavirus had been identified at the university.
The move to ask students to leave their accommodation was described as "one of the most difficult decisions to date".
All students staying at Trinity Hall, the Binary Hub and Kavanagh Court have been requested to vacate.
Those living in Ireland have been told to return home from 8pm tomorrow and stay there until otherwise notified.
Students from overseas have been asked to leave their Trinity accommodation by 5pm on Wednesday.
People staying in Trinity Hall and on campus will be refunded on a pro-rata basis, the college said, while Trinity will offer full support to students staying at Binary Hub and Kavanagh Court if they seek refunds from the owners.
Students who meet certain criteria will be permitted to stay on campus until the end of the semester.
They include those facing homelessness; anyone who has the virus or is currently self-isolating or whose family at home has the virus; students who have immigration, travel, and/or visa restrictions; students whose home is in an area with extremely limited internet connectivity, or PhD students who must conduct research on campus that’s required for their thesis.
The email, which was signed off by four people including Provost Patrick Prendergast, said that the university had to make "tough decisions" as the "situation with COVID-19 in Trinity continues to worsen".
It said: "This decision has been taken because large, highly concentrated numbers of students living on campus will increase the chance of rapid transmission of the coronavirus.
"Our capacity to quarantine those who are sick and those who have been exposed is extremely limited.
"The more students who leave campus, the more we can decrease the potential health risk to the larger community.
"The more students who leave, the easier it will be to care for those who may become ill and to manage the eventual impact of this virus."