Health officials have this evening confirmed the lowest daily number of new Covid-19 cases in Ireland for more than four months.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) reported a further 269 cases of the coronavirus in Ireland tonight - the fewest since December 14.
Since the pandemic began, 243,508 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in Ireland.
Sadly, one new Covid-19-related death was also confirmed by Department of Health officials.
This newest death brings the total number of Covid-19 related deaths here to 4,836.
Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn spoke this evening of the "the fantastic impact" of vaccination amongst the country's healthcare workers and in our nursing homes.
However, Dr Glynn said that the declining incidence across all age groups in recent weeks could not be attributed to vaccination alone, but rather was down to "the enormous efforts of people across society to keep themselves and their families safe."
"If we can keep incidence relatively low over the coming weeks, vaccination will increasingly play a role in suppressing this virus," he said.
The Deputy CMO said this would make it easier for the country to balance the risks associated with Covid-19 while also allowing the gradual easing of public health measures.
- 133 are men;
- 131 are women;
- 70% are under 45 years of age;
- The median age is 31 years old
The five-day moving average of the virus in Ireland is now 369.
As of 8am this morning, 181 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised, 47 of whom were in intensive care units.
Six new hospitalisations have been reported in the past 24 hours.
As of Friday, April 18, 1,188,354 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland.
838,644 people have received their first dose, while 349,710 have got their second jab and are fully vaccinated.
In Northern Ireland, 82 further cases have been confirmed by health officials.
There were no new deaths reported in the last 24 hours, meaning the total Covid-19 death toll in the North remains 2,135.
To date, 119,032 the number of people who have been diagnosed with the virus to 119,032 people since the pandemic began.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has backtracked on a proposal to altering Ireland's vaccine rollout to inoculate younger people first.
On Saturday, it was reported that the Minister was considering a move to vaccinate people between the ages of 18 and 30 once all those over 60 are vaccinated.
Mr Donnelly admitted that he had put forward the idea of prioritising younger people and had asked for a review.
However, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn reportedly dismissed the proposal.
"The NIAC (National Immunisation Advisory Committee) in their original prioritisation identified younger cohorts as cohorts who had a higher prevalence of the disease and what they said was if the data on transmission gets to a point where vaccinations show a very significant decrease in transmission, then this group should be prioritised," the Minister said onon Sunday.
Mr Donnelly said health officials had told him that there was not sufficient data available to support such a move.
"There is no plan to do this, no proposal to do this. I was just checking in with the Deputy Chief Medical Officer (CMO) to see where the data was," he said.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has indicated that Cabinet will be setting out a plan in the coming days for the further re-opening of society from early May onwards.
Speaking at the Fianna Fáil 1916 commemoration at Arbour Hill, the Taoiseach said the Government would initially look at getting all construction reopened next month.
May could also see the return of non-essential retail, as well as personal services.
The Government signalled that hotels and guest houses will be allowed to reopen in June. The ban on inter-county travel is also expected to be lifted at this point.
In his speech this afternoon, the Taoiseach said that Covid-19 restrictions have worked in helping curb the spread of the virus.
"Restrictions have been tough, but they are working.
"The commitment of the Irish people to respecting the restrictions has dramatically reduced the spread of a virus which is today much more contagious than it was 12 months ago," he said.
"We’ve begun the gradual steps of lifting some restrictions, and if we can maintain control of the virus we Weill go as fast and as safely as possible in lifting more."