The Chief Medical Officer has said that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is looking at the experience in other European countries when it comes to easing measures around schools and childcare.

Dr Tony Holohan said that when evaluating the impact of Covid-19, NPHET considers both existing research and the effect the pandemic has had on other European countries, many of which experienced the virus a few weeks ahead of Ireland.

He said some of these countries have been in a position to ease certain measures around school and childcare and that for the most part, they have not seen significant change in infection.

Dr Holohan said this is giving a degree of assurance in terms of the likely impact of measures of that kind.

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The Department of Health has also published statistics relating to the mortality rate from Covid-19 in Ireland.

The statistics show that when issues including population density, and the ways in which deaths are reported are taken into account, Ireland's experience is on the lower end of the European scale, particularly given that Ireland reports all deaths, including probable cases of Covid-19 and deaths in all settings. 

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 and within 2 metres of them, to be considered at-risk, or a close contact.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Education has said he will not accept a "half return" to school, which would be required if the current two meters social distancing guidelines remain in place in September.

He also said the deadline for registering for calculated grades had been extended until midday.

Speaking on RTÉ's Prime Time Joe McHugh said he has not given up on children fully returning to school in September and that while he cannot act unilaterally to overrule public health advice, that advice is changing and the Government would be advised by international experiences.

He also said he did not want to see children having to wear face masks in school.

He said children's education could not be held back and there was evidence of regression in some children.

The minister said he would "move mountains" to ensure that no child is left behind.

He was due to bring a memo on the issue to Cabinet today.

He also announced that the deadline for the registration for calculated grades has been extended until midday today.

The Department of Education said that more than 1,000 students have not yet signed up and some outstanding queries on the systems help desk are still being worked through.

Additional Reporting Samantha Libreri