The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said that there were no deaths of people with Covid-19 in the past 24 hours.

There has been a total of 1,606 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland.

A further 59 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 cases have been diagnosed in the Republic, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 24,698.

Dr Holohan said the fact that there has been no deaths over the past 24 hours is "part of the downward trend" that has been seen.

However, he said while this has not been seen since before the middle of March, there is always a "weekend effect" in terms of reporting and this can result in a delay in figures.

On discussions around decreasing social distancing from two metres to one, Dr Holohan said "at the moment we think that two metres is a reasonable compromise given where we are".

He said all the public health advice is under constant review and they will continue to look at it.

He said it is not a magic thing on its own, the risk of transmission from two metres is less than that from one metre.

Dr Holohan said public health officials are working with their colleagues in the Department of Children and will continue to give consideration to what measures can be put in place to assist essential workers and other parents with childcare.

He said "a set of arrangements had been planned to be introduced coincident with the easing of restrictions last Monday but the take up of that particular scheme was low".

The National Public Health Emergency Team will meet on Thursday this week. He said the frequency of meetings is driven by the scale of work they have.

In Northern Ireland, the number of people who have died after testing positive for coronavirus has risen to 514 after eight more deaths were reported by the Department of Health.

The department also reported a further 39 cases of confirmed Covid-19, bringing the total number of positive cases in Northern Ireland to 4,609.


Read more: 
Varadkar complied with Covid guidelines in park - spokesperson
1m versus 2m: What expert groups say about social distancing
Creating safe space: 'Cosy cocoons' for special schools


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.

Earlier today, the World Health Organization's Special Envoy on Covid-19, Dr David Nabarro, said two-metre distance guidance "keeps you safe 99% of the time", but you can "greatly reduce your risk by maintaining a one-metre distance".

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sarah McInerney, Dr Nabarro said that 70% of droplets from a person's cough will travel within one metre, and that "very few of them travel further than two metres".

"The WHO and others have said the best distance to keep away from people if you want to avoid inhaling a droplet is two metres.

"That's because that will keep you safe 99% of the time but you can greatly reduce risk even at one metre because 70% of the droplets will stick within one metre."

Dr Nabarro said it is a balance of risk, and a choice that must be made based on a personal set of circumstances.

Meanwhile, the number of people receiving the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment has fallen to 579,400 - a drop of 5,200 over the last week

Of these, 33,400 are receiving their last payment as they are returning to work.  

These figures are on top of the 214,700 people receiving Jobseekers' Benefit at the end of April. 

Today's drop in the number claiming the €350 Covid Payment reflects the beginning of the re-opening of the economy. 

Elsewhere, the Irish Hairdressers Federation (IHF) will present comprehensive recommendations to Government this week in an effort to open salons earlier.

Hair and beauty salons and barbers are scheduled to reopen here on 20 July, according to the roadmap for easing of restrictions. 

The recommendations cover critical areas of the day-to-day operations of salons and the IHF believes they will enable them to reopen in a manner which is "safe to both staff and customers".

The proposals are supported by several other organisations in the hair and beauty sector.