The Department of Health has been notified of 600 new cases of Covid-19.

The number of people in intensive care units is 16, unchanged on yesterday's figures.

There are 64 people being treated for the virus in hospital.

"Tomorrow marks 500 days since the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Ireland," said Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan.

"We have come a long way together on this difficult journey and sacrificed much in our collective effort to limit the transmission of this disease.

"As we approach our 5 millionth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, we have great hope for our future. Our vaccination programme is working, the levels of protection in the community against the virus are increasing daily and those who are fully vaccinated should feel safe to increase their social contacts and to take advantage of new freedoms, while continuing to make positive public health choices in their daily routine.

"We have come so far, and I know it is hard to continue to adhere to the public health measures, but our continued individual effort is needed to minimise the risk of the Delta variant, a highly transmissible strain that poses a significant threat to the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

"We are currently experiencing a worrying increase in incidence in daily case numbers, particularly in the 16-29 age group. If you are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, you need to maintain a high degree of caution in your activities this summer. It is essential for you to avoid crowds, carefully manage your contacts, wear your mask, keep a safe distance from others and take the vaccine when it is offered."

In Northern Ireland, a further 528 new cases were confirmed today. No further deaths were reported.

Earlier, the Health Service Executive said that registration on the HSE portal for people aged 18 to 34 for the AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to open this week.

The estimate for the number of unvaccinated people in that age group is about 800,000.

This age cohort can 'opt in' for Janssen or AstraZeneca for earlier vaccination or wait to register for an mRNA vaccine - either Pfizer or Moderna.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that the HSE expects to administer the five millionth dose of a Covid-19 vaccine this week.

In a post on Twitter, he said that 69.8% of adults have had a first dose and 56.6% are fully vaccinated.

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Meanwhile, the Tánaiste said of the 200 people who were in ICU with Covid-19 over the past two months, only one was fully vaccinated and 18 were partially vaccinated.

Speaking at an IDA Ireland event today, Leo Varadkar said this shows how effective the vaccines are.

"That really does say to people, please go and get your second dose, and please understand you are not fully vaccinated until a week or two after your vaccine, depending on what vaccine you take," he said.

Staff and students urged to sign up for pilot antigen testing project

Staff and students on college campuses have been urged to volunteer to be part of rapid testing and other testing surveillance systems.

The project, called UniCoV, will conduct a large-scale analysis of testing technologies for use in surveillance of Covid-19 and prevention in higher education settings

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris asked staff and students to get involved and said the project will include rapid antigen testing, saliva-based PCR testing and wastewater surveillance.

The findings will inform the development of early warning systems for future outbreak prevention and control.

Staff and students can enrol across four universities – NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and University College Cork.

Mr Harris previously said the opening of colleges is not contingent on the success of the UniCov scheme.