The Department of Health has announced that a further 44 people who had been diagnosed with Covid-19 have died, bringing the total number of deaths in the Republic to 730.

One death that had previously been reported is no longer classified as related to Covid-19.

Of the deaths reported today, 82% had an underlying condition.

Thirty-seven deaths occurred in the east, two in the west, two in the northwest and three in the south of the country.

The number of additional cases of the virus diagnosed here is 388, bringing the total number of cases here to 16,040.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said in addition to the 730 laboratory confirmed Covid-19 deaths reported to date, there are an additional 108 probable Covid-19 deaths.

As of Sunday 19 April, there were 143 patients with Covid-19 in intensive care. 127 people had been discharged from ICU and 47 people had died in intensive care.

The average age of those admitted to ICU was 60.

Of those admitted to ICU, 263 or 83% of patients had an underlying condition.

Healthcare workers accounted for 27% of confirmed cases up to Sunday evening.

Dr Tony Holohan said 502 deaths occurred in community residential settings, 427 of which were in nursing homes.

He said there is 287 clusters related to community residential care settings with 176 of those in nursing homes.

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In relation to those who have recovered, Dr Holohan said 8,377 had recovered in the community, while 856 had been discharged from hospital.

Dr Holohan said there cannot be any "taking the foot off the gas" as we approach 5 May. He said it should not be a foregone conclusion that restrictions will be changed on 5 May.

This afternoon the Government confirmed that events with crowds of more than 5,000 will not be licensed up to the end of August.

Dr Holohan said this was the appropriate decision and consistent with their advice and that it gives advance notice to those involved in organising concerts and events. 

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Dr Cillian De Gascun of the National Virus Reference Laboratory said as of yesterday evening there 20,822 tests carried out, of those 4,025 or 19% were positive. 

He said testing results turnaround is now much faster. He said it takes around 24 to 36 hours for a result once the sample gets to the lab.

The Health Service Executive's Chief Clinical Officer, Dr Colm Henry, said a batch of Personal Protective Equipment that arrived from China at the weekend is being assessed for suitability and categorised.

He said production of respiratory masks is also happening in Ireland.

Dr Henry said the HSE had delivered over one million PPE items to residential care homes.

Earlier, the Department of Health said in addition to the people diagnosed with Covid-19 who have died and where there had been laboratory confirmed tests, there are also a further 77 "probable" Covid-19 deaths.

Details are now being provided of probable cases, where a clinician has determined a death as probably related to Covid-19.

Meanwhile, a consultant in geriatric medicine at Tallaght University Hospital has said testing in nursing homes is very important because asymptomatic infection is quite common among nursing home residents and staff.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Professor Sean Kennelly said the typical Covid-19 symptoms are far less common among the older population and just a third of these coronavirus patients will have a fever and cough.

He added that around 25% of this population suffer gastrointestional symptoms - which has been very under reported.

Prof Kennelly said it was reassuring that many residents in the nursing homes he provides care for have acquired and passed through this disease.

He said contingency planning must be put in place to support staff, in case they are found to be asymptomatic and forced to self-isolate.

Prof Kennelly said the pandemic is having significant psychological impact on residents who are being forced to live without interaction among each other or with their families.

It is clear, he said, that we will be living with this outbreak for some time and solutions to this problem must be found and he described how one nursing home is organising "patio visits" for some residents.

In future, he said, more innovative solutions to providing care for the older population must be found.

Prof Kennelly said it was really important to look at the outbreak of Covid-19 in Irish nursing homes within a global context and remember that all coronavirus-related deaths account for between 45 to 60% of deaths.