Three more deaths of patients who had contracted Covid-19 have been confirmed, bringing to 22 the total number of deaths in Ireland so far.
In new figures, released on Friday evening by the Department of Health, in the 24 hours up to 1pm on Thursday, the deaths involved a male in the north-west of the country and two females in the east.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has been informed of 302 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland, as at 1pm, Thursday 26 March.
As a result, there are now 2,121 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.
The HSE has said it is now working to identify any contacts the patients may have had to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.
The latest data from health officials up to midnight, Wednesday, March 25 involving the 1,639 cases at that stage shows:
Earlier today, a further three deaths in Northern Ireland were announced, bringing the total deaths on the island over 30.
Yesterday, it was announced that among the cases in the Republic, there were six clusters in nursing homes and that almost a quarter of confirmed cases were healthcare workers.
Confirmed cases also continue to rise in Britain – with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock both testing positive for the virus today.
Meanwhile, the death toll from the pandemic in Italy has spiked by 919 in one 24-hour period, with 9,134 patients now dead. This increase is the highest daily surge since the outbreak began last month.
Prior to the latest figure, the largest daily toll was registered on March 21, when 793 people died. The 919 people who died over the last 24 hours is signifiantly higher than 712 deaths on Thursday, 683 on Wednesday, 743 on Tuesday and 602 on Monday.
The total number of confirmed cases rose to 86,498 from a previous 80,539, taking Italy’’s total past that of China, where the coronavirus epidemic emerged at the end of last year. The United States already surpassed China’’s tally of cases on Thursday.
In Italy, of those originally infected nationwide, 10,950 had fully recovered by Friday, compared to 10,361 the day before. There were 3,732 people in intensive care compared to a previous figure of 3,612.
Earlier, the national health institute (ISS) had cautiously suggested lockdown measures to curb the spread of the disease may soon bear fruit.
Institute head, Silvio Brusaferro said: "I want to be clear on one point. We have not peaked yet. There are signs of a slowdown, which makes us believe that we are close, we could peak in the next few days."
- Additional reporting Joel Slattery