Every home in the country is to receive a special information booklet about Covid-19. 

Minister for Health Simon Harris said that from next week, the Frequently Asked Questions booklet will be posted out to homes for free by An Post. 

Mr Harris said that he is very conscious that there is a lot of information coming at us about the virus and that this is "very welcome news". 

He said earlier held talks with medical leaders about the Covid-19 crisis, where issues like staffing, personal protective equipment and resources were discussed. 

He also said his officials will meet with representatives from the pharmaceuticals and medical devices industries on Monday in a bid to ensure we can "maximise the access we have to medical devices in the coming weeks and months". 

Mr Harris said that people are going to get sick from things other than the coronavirus and that officials are looking at how they can make sure essential operations are provided, "particularly when it comes to cancer care". 

He said: "How do we keep our acute hospitals in the HSE for the sickest patients? If we get private hospital capacity, are there things we can do there to compliment that? 

"And if we manage to secure hotel accommodation, isolation facilities and for example Templemore Garda College has become available, how do we actually use those things to look after other people? So how do we use all the resources that we have available."

Mr Harris also met medical professionals in the department this morning to discuss the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

The meeting comes as the number of confirmed cases in the Republic of Ireland rose last night, by 126 to 683 cases.

The meeting is the second meeting of the medical leaders' forum, the first such meeting was held on St Patrick's day.

It brings together all the groups representing leaders in the medical community, including consultants, GPs, the medical schools in the universities, microbiologists and the Infectious Diseases Society of Ireland.

The meeting gave them the chance to hear directly from the Chief Medical Officer, Tony Holohan and the Health Service Executives's Chief Clinical Officer, Dr Colm Henry about the current situation. 

In a message on Twitter this morning, the minister said the Government was doing everything possible to slow the spread of Covid-19 and he said everyone needed to work on this together.

Mr Harris also said he was conscious that there was great anxiety in the country at the moment and people were feeling great stress, worry and loneliness.

It was really important for people to support each other, he said, and to be kind to each other.

The minister urged people to pick up a phone and ring a relative and to bake or cook food to leave for neighbours who might not be able to get to the shops.

Addressing children, he said he realised it was a tough time for them and their parents.

While the first couple of days off school might have felt like a holiday, he said this was not the summer holidays and he knew they were not able to see their friends or go to their usual sports activities.

He urged them to make Mother's Day cards and help around the house.

Mr Harris said he knew this was a tough and challenging time for all of us. But he said the only way people could get through it was if they pulled together.

Last night, the Department of Health's Chief Medical Officer said the number of cases of Covid-19 in Ireland is in line with projections.

Speaking on RTÉ's Late Late Show, Dr Tony Holohan said the priority the National Public Health Emergency Team wants to get across to people this weekend is how important and valuable social distancing is at this crucial stage in the battle to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The NPHT wants people, when engaging outside their households, to stay at least one metre and preferably two metres apart.

By the end of the month, there could be 15,000 confirmed cases in Ireland.

Around 80% of cases of Covid-19 will be a mild to moderate illness, close to 14% have severe disease and around 6% are critical.

Generally, you need to be 15 minutes or more in the vicinity of an infected person, within 1-2 metres, to be considered at-risk or a close contact.

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Tánaiste Simon Coveney appealed to young people in particular, who may be tempted to ignore the appeals, to remember that half a million people are over the age of 70, and 170,000 are recovering from or being treated for cancer.

All of them and more are vulnerable.

Dr Holohan said there is no room for complacency and every citizen who is practicing social distancing and taking precautions to limit the spread of the virus is doing their country a service,

Additional reporting: George Lee and Laura Hogan