There have been 13 more Covid-related deaths and 1,718 new cases reported by the Department of Health.

It brings the total death toll since the pandemic began to 2,226, while the total number of confirmed cases has now passed 90,000.

Overall there have been almost 4,000 cases reported on the island of Ireland, with 2,143 positive cases reported by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland earlier today.

358 of the cases reported today are in Dublin, with 164 in Cork, 155 in Louth, 150 in Donegal, and 112 in Galway. The remaining 779 cases are spread across all other counties. 

There are 455 people with Covid-19 in hospitals around the country today, an increase from 409 yesterday, and 360 the day before.

Over the last 24 hours 60 people with the coronavirus were admitted to hospital. There are now 37 people with Covid-19 in intensive care, up from 34 yesterday. 

The 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 people now stands at 272.7.

The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, has said; "Ireland is no longer in a containment phase and is once again in a mitigation phase.

He said that given the current levels of transmission in the community, "every individual should consider themselves potentially infectious."

"It is essential that we all limit our contacts to our own household now, restrict our movements and do not give Covid-19 any further opportunities to spread," he said.

"Everyone needs to stay at home other than for essential work or care. This is not the time to be visiting other houses."

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Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the National Public Health Emergency Team's Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, has said the reproduction number for the virus is currently estimated at 1.6 to 1.8.

"The growth rate is estimated to be 7-10% per day with a doubling time of 7-10 days," he said.


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Meanwhile, the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) has said stringent measures are needed to control the virus.

Reducing the transmission of the new and more highly transmissible variant of Covid-19, which was identified earlier this month in the UK, and confirmed to be circulating here too, will require the implementation of more stringent social restrictions.

That is the advice contained in a special report about the matter published by the ECDC yesterday.

The report suggests that the viral load of the new variant infections may be four times higher resulting in increased viral shedding and increased transmissibility of the disease.

It warns of the high impact this will have on our health system in the coming weeks which it says could be reduced by stricter social interventions.

The Chair of the Irish Medical Organisation's Public Health Committee has said there are people still not answering their phone to contact tracing teams, and as such is creating problems in the contact tracing process.

Speaking on RTÉ's News At One, Dr Ina Kelly appealed for people to keep their phones on in order to help in contact tracing and stem the spread of the virus, and for businesses to check their answering machines. 

She said there have been cases when contact tracers are investigating congregated settings such as a gym or restaurant, they cannot get through to the business as they are not open.

Dr Kelly said the large number of cases being reported in recent days is making contact tracing "very challenging".

She said the large numbers "are not unexpected" as everyone has increased their number of social contacts over the Christmas period, adding that the HSE has the numbers available at the moment to cope with contact tracing.

Labour leader calls for publication of vaccine figures

The leader of the Labour Party has called on the Government to publish a daily report on the number of people vaccinated against Covid-19.

Alan Kelly also called for a daily update on the Government's "vaccination procurement and implementation strategy".

In a statement he said this was essential to "give people hope".

"The Minister for Health has said all nursing home residents will be vaccinated by the end of February along with tens of thousands of healthcare workers," Mr Kelly said.

"We also need to transparently say if we deviate from the Professor McGraith's roll out plan or the Government's population prioritisation list."