From cases of the variant first detected in India reported in Ireland to a drop in disease activity, here are five things we learned from today's Covid-19 briefing.

Three cases of variant first seen in India confirmed

Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory Dr Cillian de Gascun said that there have been three cases of the recent variant first identified in India.

Dr De Gascun said at least two of them are associated with travel.

He said NPHET does not have any data to determine whether the variant is more transmissible or not, but said at this stage people need to remain vigilant and try to contain it locally.

Separately, 24 cases of the P1 variant, which was first found in Brazil, have so far been confirmed in Ireland, while 55 cases of B1351 South African variant have also been confirmed.

Disease activity at levels previously seen in November

GP Darach O'Ciardha, who is also founder and director of the GP Buddy app, told the briefing that GPs are reporting similar disease activity levels to that seen in November.

"We have come a long way though since the highs of January," he added.

Dr O'Ciardha said the last three Mondays have seen a lower average number of cases meeting the criteria for testing, which he said was "welcome", but added that it was important people do not drop their guard.

Improving incidence of disease across all age groups

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn told the briefing there is ongoing improvement in terms of incidence in all age groups.

The five-day moving average of cases now stands at 364 cases per day, which Dr Glynn said was "the lowest it's been for some months".

He said on average there are now two new admissions to intensive care each day, and that while no deaths were recorded today, there had still been eight deaths on average in recent days.

He noted, however, that many of those were from January, February and March.

Recommendation to extend interval between doses may not be needed

Dr Glynn said there may not be a need to recommend an extension of the interval between the first and second dose of some vaccines.

He said that no advice had been given to Government.

Dr Glynn said he wanted to hear what the European Medicines Agency says later this week about the pause on the roll-out of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the impact on vaccine supply.

He said that there were pros and cons to extending the interval between doses.

An extension would mean it would take longer to complete the national vaccination programme.

'Phenomenal' compliance seen as close contacts stay steady

Dr Glynn told the briefing the average number of close contacts has stayed steady at 2.6 per case, however incidence will increase should this begin to rise.

He said that up to last week's data, "a phenomenal level of compliance" had been seen with measures, as well as a very stable level of compliance going back to mid-February.

Dr Glynn also added that the first indication of the impact of schools and construction returning last week will be made known at Thursday evening's briefing.