The Department of Health has confirmed that 43 more people have died after being diagnosed with Covid-19, the highest reported in a single day, bringing the total to 486.

It said that one previously reported death has been de-notified or is no longer a Covid-19 related death.

The median age of today's confirmed deaths is 84. Of those who died, 27 were recorded as having an underlying health condition, 22 were male and 21 were female.

The number of additional cases of the virus diagnosed here is 629. In addition, a further 95 cases of coronavirus were confirmed from the backlog of tests at the laboratory in Germany.

This brings the total number of additional cases to 724. The total number of Covid-19 cases in Ireland is now 13,271.

As of Tuesday 14 April, the number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 was 2,026 or 16%.

Of those hospitalised, 284 people were admitted to ICU. Healthcare workers accounted for 3,090 cases (25%).

For the cases where transmission status is known, community transmission accounts for 51%, close contact accounts for 43%, and travel abroad accounts for 6%.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said there were currently 425 clusters, 254 of which are in community residential settings, such as care homes and nursing homes.

The chair of the NPHET Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, Professor Philip Nolan, said there has been a marked change in the growth rate of cumulative cases.

He said the current reproduction rate was stable and had been since 3 April. He also said the rate of growth in relation to people being admitted to ICU was slowing.

Professor Nolan said there was an optimistic message that the virus had been suppressed or controlled, but there was a danger of more growth if restrictions were relaxed.

HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said they did not have a number for confirmed cases in nursing homes.

He said there were more than 500 nursing homes facilities and four out of five were non-HSE facilities, so the idea of replacing that by the State taking them over was untenable.

Speaking in the Dáil earlier, Minister for Health Simon Harris said he was encouraged by the news that the reproductive rate for Covid-19 cases is now at one, or below it.

Minister Harris said there are four different methods to estimate the reproductive rate, all of which were producing numbers between 0.7 and 1.

The minister said we are beginning to see this in the hospitalisation cases and the critical care cases, but not yet a decline in new cases.

He added that if the reproduction rate had continued at a level of 2.4 we would have seen 7,800 new cases today, 800 people in ICU today and at least 1,700 deaths by this day next week.

Minister Harris was responding to the Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Stephen Donnelly who asked for clarity on the fatality rate.

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Earlier, the Taoiseach told the Dáil that the Government would like to set out a roadmap before 5 May on how the Covid-19 restrictions might be eased.

Leo Varadkar said that this would be done on the understanding that the plan could change and steps could be reversed.

The restrictions were announced by the Taoiseach on 27 March and extended until 5 May just before the Easter weekend.

The measures state that everyone must stay home except in specific circumstances, which include travel to and from work for essential work that cannot be done from home; to shop for food, household goods or collect a meal; to attend medical appointments, collect medicines and other health products.

Other exemptions include farming, the care of animals and leaving home for vital family reasons such as providing care for the elderly or vulnerable.

Mr Varadkar said that when the restrictions can be relaxed, it will be done over a number months.

"I don't yet know if we'll be able to relax restrictions on 5 May, but I do know that if we can at all, it is going to be gradual and happen over a number of months," Mr Varadkar told the Dáil.

"As we know from Asia, they may even need to be re imposed again as only a scientific breakthrough - a vaccine or an effective antiviral medicine - will truly allow life to go back to being as it was."

Mr Varadkar said data will be available from other European countries who are a few weeks ahead and are now unwinding measures.

He said plans will be based on three sets of data. One is the epidemiological data on numbers of cases, hospitalisations, ICU and death rates. He said the second is the capacity of the health service and third is testing and tracing capacity.

In relation to testing, Mr Varadkar said the Government is not where it would like to be or where it had expected to be. He said things were improving with more than 90,000 tests now completed.

The Taoiseach said the backlog that existed is now largely cleared and there is demand for around 3,000 tests a day, which he said there was capacity to do.

He said if the case definition was widened again we may run into problems if there was a big spike in demand.

Additional reporting Sandra Hurley, Aisling Kenny