The number of new cases of Covid-19 and deaths associated with the virus continues to fall here in Ireland.
New data issued by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows that the number of new cases has fallen for eight weeks in a row and that the number of deaths has declined for nine weeks in a row.
It also shows that five people were hospitalised due to the virus last week — down from a peak of more than 650 in a single week in March. The CSO also reports there were fewer than five people admitted to ICU for the fourth week in a row last week.
The data is included in the CSO's latest cases and deaths bulletin, covering the week ending Friday, June 19.
It notes that older people living in wealthy areas were the worst hit by the Covid-19 outbreak, largely due to 'clusters'. Some 10,997 cases are related to a cluster. More than one-quarter of people affected by clusters are aged 80 or older, with nursing homes the primary source of these. Some three-quarters of all clusters occurred in nursing homes, hospitals or residential institutions.
By contrast, travel, initially the main source of the virus, now accounts for just 1% of cases.
The CSO notes that while older people in wealthier areas are likely to be the worst affected, this is partly due to the large number of cases in Dublin and the county's relative affluence.
Dublin remains the worst-hit county when it comes to cases. Some 51% of cases recorded since the outbreak began at the end of February were in the capital.
And, while cases are declining in Ireland - the number of diagnosed cases has now fallen for eight consecutive weeks - Dublin is the only county to record more than 20 new cases in each of the past three weeks.
The CSO's data covers the period up to last Friday, June 19, and also reveals that the number of people who have died due to the virus has declined for nine consecutive weeks. Some 22 of the 26 counties in the Republic recorded no deaths in the week ending June 19.
As of June 19, there were a total of 1,456 confirmed deaths related to Covid-19, and a further 258 listed as probable deaths. That week, seven deaths were recorded, down from 17 the previous week.
Older people remain the worst affected in terms of deaths, with 65% of all confirmed Covid-19 deaths relating to people in the 80+ age group.
By that date, there was a total of 25,368 recorded nationally. The week of June 19 saw 65 cases reported, down from 107 the previous week.
It was the sixth week in a row that Clare, Leitrim, Longford, Tipperary, Wexford and Wicklow recorded less than 10 new cases per week, and the seventh week in a row for Donegal, Laois and Kerry, and the eighth week in a row for Sligo and Waterford.
Some 12 counties recorded no new cases in the week ending June 19, and 12 others recorded fewer than five. Just Dublin (37) and Kildare (8) saw more than five new cases.
More than 40% of confirmed cases relate to a cluster, and the 25-44 age group remains the cohort with the highest number of cases at 8,718. Healthcare workers continue to account for almost one-third of cases.