The Department of Health has announced that a further 13 people who had been diagnosed with Covid-19 in Ireland have died, bringing the overall death toll here to 1,604.

The department has also announced an additional 76 confirmed cases of the virus.

It brings the overall number of cases in Ireland to 24,582.

Latest figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, as of midnight on Thursday, show that healthcare workers account for just shy of 32% of all cases.

Of the 24,451 cases confirmed so far, healthcare workers account for 7,813.

13% of cases so far - over 3,211 – have been hospitalised. Of these, 393 required admission to intensive care.

The median age of cases is 48, with a split of 57% female and 43% male.

Dublin has the highest number of cases at 11,830, accounting for 48% of all cases. This is followed by Cork with 1,420 cases (6%) and then Kildare with 1,387 cases (6%).

For those whom transmission status is known community transmission accounts for 60%, close contact accounts for 38%, and travel abroad accounts for 2%.

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The figures come as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar earlier reaffirmed that the two-metre social distancing rule "stands", and there has been "no change" to the public health advice.

Mr Varadkar made the remark this morning after it was revealed that several Cabinet ministers advocated yesterday for the adoption of World Health Organization guidance, which states that a one-metre distance is considered to be safe.  

This afternoon, Minister for Health Simon Harris said the advice from doctors to the people of Ireland is that for people to keep themselves safe and well, they need to keep two metres away from others. 

He said other countries had taken differing views but it was up to our National Public Health Emergency Team to scan all the available advice and advise the Government accordingly.  

If a person was two metres away from another person, they were less likely to be infected by droplets from that person, he said. He said the issue was under constant review by NPHET.