Latest figures show that the number of patients in hospitals with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 continues to decrease.

Overnight there were 501 coronavirus patients in hospitals, down 20 cases on the figure for Sunday.

The hospitals with the most confirmed cases are the Mater in Dublin with 55 patients, Tallaght University Hospital with 42, and Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown with 23.

Elsewhere, there are 16 confirmed cases at University Hospital Limerick, University Hospital Galway has 14 and Mayo University Hospital has 13.

There are 48 patients in intensive care beds with confirmed coronavirus.

The health system still has 116 critical care beds vacant.

The number of vacant general beds in hospitals has also increased by 240 and now stands at 975.

Last night, the Department of Health said there were no new Covid-19 deaths reported for a 24-hour period, the first time this has occurred since late March.

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This evening the Department said that nine more people have died from Covid-19 in Ireland, bringing the overall death toll to 1,615.

There have been 37 more cases of the coronavirus have also been diagnosed in the Republic, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 24,735.

Around 80% of cases of Covid-19 will be a mild to moderate illness, close to 14% have severe disease and around 6% are critical. 

Generally, you need to be 15 minutes or more in the vicinity of an infected person and within two metres of them, to be considered at-risk, or a close contact. 

This morning, President of the Intensive Care Society of Ireland said that any acceleration in the easing of restrictions should be based on science and the experience of other countries rather than any other pressures.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Catherine Motherway, who is a consultant anaesthesiologist at University Hospital Limerick, said the pace of change in restrictions set out by NPHET is reasonable, but any changes to it need to be based on a balance of science and assessing risk as "we still have got a long way to go".

Dr Motherway said that measuring the impact of the easing of restrictions would take time as given the incubation period of the virus it would take two to three weeks to see if there has been a rise in infections.

There is anxiety in hospitals about another wave of Covid-19 during the winter flu season this year, she added.

As of two days ago there were just under 50 people with confirmed Covid-19 in intensive care units and and a total of 279 people in ICU beds in Ireland "which is above our baseline capacity at the start of this".

She said that ICU bed numbers going forward will need to be increased, and that planning in hospitals will now need to look at resuming elective high-risk surgery and ensuring that capacity and isolation facilities for patients are maintained.

Meanwhile, the Mental Health Commission has said it has seen a notable decrease in the total number of suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the 181 mental health services it has been monitoring across the country.

The commission has also expressed concern that some mental health staff were still awaiting test results for Covid-19 last week, despite the introduction of guidance over a month ago that required all staff to be tested.

"Any significant delays in the receipt of staff test results were escalated to the HSE last week," said John Farrelly, the Chief Executive of the Mental Health Commission.

"The HSE responded to these escalations and informed us that there are different testing pathways for mass testing and for outbreak testing.

"We understand that while outbreak testing is prioritised and has a very short turnaround, there may be some delays associated with mass testing."