Health officials have confirmed 553 new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, the biggest increase since the outbreak began.
The Department of Health also confirmed a further 286 older cases of Covid-19 have been reported by a laboratory in Germany.
Earlier today, Minister for Health Simon Harris said he hoped the backlog in testing would be cleared by the end of next week.
He said between 25,000 and 30,000 tests had been sent to Germany, with more than half of the tests returned and the remainder due back this week.
Health Minister Simon Harris said 1,500 student nurses have signed up to be paid healthcare assistants in the health service during the coronavirus emergency.
Speaking at the Department of Health earlier, Mr Harris also said Ireland has more testing capacity than most other EU countries.
He said testing per head of population is the 5th highest in the EU.
There are 8,928 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, and another 33 people have died, taking the total to 320.
Of the 33 deaths, 25 had an underlying health condition. Thirty were in the east and three in the west. There were 14 females and 19 males with a median age of 82.
Analysis from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) shows that as of Thursday, when there were 7,787 cases, about 45% were male and 54% were female.
Chief medical officer Tony Holohan said: “Today’s figure of 553 represents the largest number of new cases reported in a single day since the start of the outbreak.
“This should remind everyone of the importance of hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and physical distancing. These are the actions to suppress this infection. We need to continue with them.”
A total of 2,141 cases are associated with healthcare workers.
The median age of confirmed cases is 48.
A total of 1,718 cases (22%) have involved hospital admission, and of those, 253 have been admitted to intensive care.
Dublin has the highest number of cases at 4,156 (53%) followed by Cork with 581 (8%)
Today, Mr Harris launched a “one-stop shop” for mental health resources to help people cope during the pandemic, on Government website www.gov.ie/together.
He said the emergency is taking its toll on the nation’s mental health and there would be no return to “normality” once restrictions are lifted.
“The difficulty for everyone in this country is that we are not going back to normal life in May.
“It is going to be a new normal. I don’t want to worry or upset people but we need to work as a people to get to a better place.
“I’m concerned with the toll of restrictions on people’s mental health. It is not normal that you can’t go out and about or that you can’t visit your family on Easter Sunday.”