318 new cases of Covid-19 were reported this evening by the Department of Health, bringing the total number in the country since the outbreak began to 70,461 confirmed cases.
One further death from the virus was recorded bringing the total number of virus related deaths to 2,023.
From 2pm this afternoon, 282 people have been hospitalised with the virus while 31 patients are in intensive care.
17 hospitalisations occurred in the last 24 hours with one person admitted to intensive care. Two patients were discharged from ICU.
From the case data reported today by the Department of Health:
- 155 Covid-19 cases are men and 161 are women
- 73% are under 45 years of age
- The median age of confirmed cases is 28 years old
Dublin reported the most cases with 126 confirmed in the capital. Cork followed with 45 cases while Limerick recorded 28. In Kildare, 18 cases of the virus have been confirmed.
The remaining 80 cases are spread across other counties in the country.
The latest case data comes as a government minister warns against a "free for all approach" this December that could result in the country returning to stricter lockdown restrictions in January next year.
Pippa Hackett, Minister of State in the Department for Agriculture, ruled out a complete reopening of society for Christmas.
Speaking to RTÉ’s The Week In Politics, the government minister said there is an opportunity now to buckle down and achieve the best results from the Level 5 lockdown.
The Minister also said it is has been difficult to get the public to adhere to stricter Covid-19 regulations.
Ms Hackett said: “There is no point indicating to people we are going to open up for two weeks at Christmas because that is just a free for all.
“As difficult as it is now to get people to adhere to the regulations, a free-for-all two-week holiday at Christmas, that will be lockdown after Christmas.”
She added: “We have a week or so now to really buckle down, obey what we have been asked to do. Young and old should be really coming together to do this.
Ultimately we will have to act on the advice from public health and that’s the most important piece.
The country is due to leave Level 5 restrictions on December 1, with the Government set to announce plans to move forward within the next number of days.
However, public health chiefs have warned the progress in bringing down levels of the virus made during lockdown has stalled and said the next two weeks will be critical.
Professor Anthony Staines, a professor of public health at Dublin City University said the reduction of Covid-19 cases up to now is a credit to the Irish public but case numbers are likely to remain in the hundreds come December.
Professor Staines also said that the resourcing of contact tracing for confirmed cases remains a challenge holding back Ireland's response.
"I still think there’s a weakness in other aspects of our response, particularly the public health track and trace response, which has been seriously under-resourced,”
"Now you don’t know where our numbers will be at the beginning of December.
“I think a fair guess would be over 100, and that poses a challenge for the Government,” said Professor Staines.
Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, 10 deaths were reported today along with 342 new cases confirmed.
425 people with Covid-19 are being treated for the virus in the North's hospitals.