The Department of Health has confirmed 1,049 new cases of Covid-19.

There are 310 patients in hospital with the virus, 66 of whom are in intensive care units.

Latest figures today also show that more than 91.4% of adults aged 18 and older are now fully vaccinated.

More than 90.5% of those aged 16 and older are fully vaccinated.

More than 90.5% of the total eligible population aged 12 years and older have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Ireland is ranked in first place in the EU in terms of percentage of adult population fully vaccinated.

Over 7.3 million doses of vaccine have been administered, since the first dose was given on 26 December last.

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Professor Brian MacCraith, the chairperson of the High-Level Task Force on Covid-19 Vaccination, said the programme had exceeded its best expectations.

He said this was due to the remarkable response of the Irish people across all age groups and the commitment and expertise of those responsible for delivering the programme.

In Northern Ireland, four further deaths of patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 were reported today.

There were 903 new confirmed cases in the last 24-hours with 345 Covid-19 patients in hospital - 28 of those are in intensive care.

It comes as Stormont ministers have agreed to end social distancing restrictions for shops, theatres and a number of other indoor settings in Northern Ireland.

At a meeting on Monday evening, ministers decided to remove the one-metre distance requirement for the retail sector, indoor attractions and seated indoor venues.

Ministers agreed to beef up guidance to business and venue owners to mitigate the impact of allowing a return to full capacity.

The advice includes the installation of screening, one-way systems and increased ventilation.

For indoor seated venues, additional guidance will be issued to venues concerning the introduction of entry policies that require proof of either Covid-19 vaccination, a negative lateral flow test or evidence of a positive PCR test within the previous six months.

Meanwhile, most primary school children and those in childcare facilities who are identified as close contacts of a confirmed case of Covid-19, but have no symptoms, no longer have to restrict their movements or get tested from today.

The automatic contact tracing of close contacts also ends.

Up to now, primary school children who were deemed a close contact of a confirmed case of Covid-19 have been required to restrict their movements, stay off school and get tested, if they had no symptoms.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said he understands that some people will be anxious about the change to close contact tracing and self-isolation for children under the age of 12.

But he said it was introduced due to encouraging results from schools, where the rate of Covid-19 is stable or said to be reducing.

He also said any programme, if recommended, to vaccinate those aged five to 11 would not be expected to happen this year.

Mr Donnelly also said that some people have been spreading very dangerous information about vaccines and that people had been targeted with lies and he was very concerned about this.

The Health Service Executive's National Lead for Testing and Tracing has said that, over the past few weeks, more than 30,000 children have been impacted by Covid-19 and taken out of school for 10 days each.

Niamh O'Beirne said it is a very significant impact on a large number of children for a third year in a row.

She said the advice on close contacts is being changed as health officials are focusing on the benefit and risk to children of being outside school for a significant length of time coming after the impact of the last two years.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, Ms O'Beirne said the likelihood of transmission within school has been "quite low" and there is limited risk to children if they are asymptomatic.

The advice to parents is not to bring children with symptoms to school, she added, so the likelihood of the virus being spread in the classroom is further decreased.

Ms O'Beirne said the positivity rate among those aged 12-14 has decreased from 14.8% to 5.2%, which she said shows the HSE is testing a lot more people who do not have the virus.