Health officials in Ireland have today reported a further 12 COVID-related deaths.
1,620 new cases of the virus have also been reported as Ireland enters level 5 restrictions in a bid to curb the latest spread.
The COVID-19 death toll now sits at 2,237, while there have been 91,779 cases of the virus since March.
Of today’s cases, 498 were in Dublin, 203 in Limerick, 89 in Galway, 73 in Cork, 67 in Mayo, and the remaining 690 cases are spread across all other counties.
As of 2 pm today, 490 COVID-19 patients are in hospitals around the country, of which 42 are in ICU.
There have also been 58 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.
Speaking this afternoon, Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said:
“To support the testing system through this surge, we are no longer advising close contacts of confirmed cases to get tested. Testing and tracing is an exercise in containment and we are no longer in a containment phase.
“However, it is imperative that if you are a close contact with a confirmed case you restrict your movements and contact your GP immediately if you develop symptoms.
“The average number of contacts per case has risen from 2.5 in November to an average in recent days of 6.3.
“This is very far from where we need to be and I am appealing to everyone at every age to adhere to the mandated restrictions that the government has introduced – stay at home, except for essential reasons, other than for exercise up to 5km.”
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