President Michael D Higgins has urged people to "stay patient, vigilant and keep the faith" with regard to measures aimed at stemming the spread of Covid-19.

In a statement, President Higgins said having to keep our distance from those who give our lives meaning was a difficult ask, but what the public are being asked to do now will bear fruit in the weeks that will follow.

He said it was therefore important to keep the faith, stay patient, and vigilant.

"The days ahead will be difficult, for all of us, but what a memory it will be when the virus has passed, to know that we gave of our best."

President Higgins recognised that what is being asked of people is not easy, but said everyone's effort together was making a difference.

He added: "Let us not forget ever that we are not travelling through the darkness alone, but that we are on this journey together."

The president also thanked those working to keep communities healthy and safe.

"So many in our health service, in the Defence Forces and An Garda Síochána, but also in food production and retail, and in our public utilities, continue, day in and day out, to deliver the products and services we have come to dependent on," he said.

President Higgins said we are being tested at a time when our everyday lives have changed beyond recognition, adding that solidarity was now vitally important.

"Our solidarity now means that we need to keep our distance physically. Solidarity now also means supporting those in our communities who need us, or who are vulnerable," he said.

He also expressed his condolences to the families of those who have lost loved ones during the outbreak.

He said everything being done now was about saving lives, slowing the virus, and caring for the most vulnerable.