The HSE's head of public health in the south is self-isolating after he visited England last weekend to say goodbye to his wife and child as they face what could be several months apart.
Dr Augustine Pereira, a key figure in the region's response to the Covid-19 crisis, is symptom free but said he is following HSE guidance and will spend 14-days working from home.
He said in the interim, a colleague will act as director of public health in the region.
Dr Pereira works in Cork while his wife, an NHS employee, and their eight-year-old son, live in the UK.
As the Covid-19 crisis was escalating here last Friday, Dr Pereira was quoted in a joint statement issued by the HSE, Cork city and county councils and the gardaí urging everyone to play their part in slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
That afternoon, he posted the first two of three planned tweets from his own Twitter account highlighting HSE public health guidance.
His first tweet promoted self-isolation and social distancing. The second tweet, moments later, urged people to connect with each other in innovative ways, and to ensure physical distancing while continuing to socially connect.
The third tweet was posted almost 24-hours later, in which he said three things were important.
"Social distancing, social distancing and social distancing. Thanks to all who area religious about it. It saves lives," he wrote.
But he has now confirmed that the tweets were posted while he was in England with his family.
In an statement to the Irish Examiner, Dr Pereira said he travelled to the UK due to "an urgent family matter".
He said the trip "unfortunately overlapped" with the introduction of the new guidance on international travel from the National Public Health Emergency Team and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
"The situation around Covid-19 is evolving and changing very quickly, and after my return I am currently restricting my movements for 14 days - sometimes referred to as self-quarantine - as recommended by the HSE guidelines," he said.
"This means that I am not travelling into work and am following the national guidelines for anyone returning from travel.
"As a consequence, I am working remotely on projects that lend itself to remote working, away from the Department of Public Health and under self-quarantine.
As the Irish and British governments impose tight restrictions on travel and movement, Dr Pereira and his family face several months apart.
He said: "My son was particularly upset at the prospect of not knowing when he would see me again but I explained to him about what is going on and why I had to say goodbye for now.
"I am now back in Ireland, and I intend to remain here and devote myself entirely to the HSE’s battle against Covid-19.
"This will help the health service to be able to respond to the demand on its service and it will save lives.
"Like many other families, my family will keep in touch using phones and technology for the foreseeable future.
"And whilst we are all physically distancing from friends and family, can I also make this plea to all to socially connect in new and innovative ways."
The HSE guidance on self-isolation is outlined here