The Chief Medical Officer has warned that the coronavirus continues to circulate in the community and is still a risk, particularly to people who have not yet been vaccinated.

Dr Tony Holohan made the statement as 383 new cases of Covid-19 were reported by the Department of Health, as well as two deaths related to the disease.

There are 144 people with Covid-19 being treated in hospitals around the country, with 41 of these in intensive care units.

"As we move closer to the easing of restrictions on 10 May, we can look forward to opportunities to enjoy the better weather and to meeting with our family and close friends safely and with the public health measures in mind," Dr Holohan said.

"Collectively we know how to interrupt the spread of this disease, so when you are making plans for coming week, don't underestimate the need to keep your distance, meet outdoors where possible and wash your hands," he added.

"And if it's crowded, turn around and come back another time. Together these simple measures will minimise the risk of infection."

Of the cases notified today, 194 are men and 189 are women, of which 79% are under the age of 45. The median age of cases is 28 years old.

In Northern Ireland, 83 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the past 24 hours.

No further deaths were reported.

There are 62 confirmed Covid-19 patients in hospital, with seven in ICU, five of whom are on ventilators.


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Meanwhile registration for Covid-19 vaccinations for people aged in their 50s is open from today.

Those aged 59 are the first to be invited to register on the Health Service Executive's online portal.

Over the next 10 days, people aged 50 to 59 can register.

The Department of Health has said it is still considering a recommendation from the HSE on proposed changes to the vaccination programme.

Following a review of the overall programme, the HSE has advised that it should continue immunising older people first, and that there should be no break in the age-based vaccination plan.

It means that younger people will not be vaccinated earlier than planned and vaccinating different age groups in parallel is not envisaged at this point.

Separately visiting restrictions in nursing homes are being eased from today, while all construction work is also resuming.

Where around eight out of every 10 residents in a nursing home have been vaccinated, residents will be allowed have four visits, by two people per visit, each week.

Organised outings for residents by bus or car will also be possible, once there is a high level of vaccination among residents and if a risk assessment has been conducted in each case.