The Department of Health has been notified of a further 1,163 new cases of Covid-19.

The number of people in hospital now stands at 297, which is a rise of 11 since yesterday.

Of those patients, 61 are being treated in ICU – up two since yesterday.

Latest data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre shows that of the 335 people admitted to ICU with Covid-19 between 1 April this year and 18 September, 71% had not received a Covid-19 vaccine.

Of the 335 cases, 29% said they had received at least one dose. There were 62 cases of breakthrough infection identified, of whom 12 died.

The figures come as a senior member of the National Public Health Emergency has said it would be of "minimal benefit" to exclude asymptomatic children from schools, or to require them to be tested for Covid-19.

The Chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, Professor Philip Nolan, said that the risks of allowing asymptomatic children to continue their schooling are very low, and the benefits of uninterrupted schooling are "quite significant".

"A case in school might infect somewhere between 2% and 5% of its close contacts, whereas the same case in a household setting is typically infecting somewhere between 30% and 50% of its unvaccinated close contacts, so the risks in the household and the risks in the school are completely different," Prof Nolan said.

"The risk is really quite low in schools, perhaps one in 20 or even one in 50 are going to be infected."

Speaking on RTÉ's News At One programme, Prof Nolan said that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) adopted a "cautious approach" ahead of the reopening of schools.

"From our perspective, the experience of the first three weeks is, as predicted, and that gives us assurance that the risks of allowing asymptomatic children to continue their schooling are very low and the benefits of uninterrupted schooling are quite significant.

New rules on close contacts of a confirmed case of Covid-19,
and testing come into effect on Monday (Pic: Rolling News)

"I really think we can reassure people that after a very close examination of the data by us, and ... listening to the experience of public health colleagues on the ground who are investigating cases and outbreaks telling us that it is really is of minimal benefit to exclude asymptomatic children from school."

From Monday, most primary school children and those in childcare facilities who are identified as close contacts of a confirmed case of Covid-19, but have no symptoms, will no longer have to restrict their movements, or get tested.

The automatic contact tracing of close contacts will also end, following advice from Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan.

Up to now, primary school children who were deemed a close contact of a confirmed case of Covid-19, have been required to restrict their movements, stay off school and get tested, if they had no symptoms.

It has proved disruptive for parents, children and employers.


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The changes mean automatic contact tracing of close contacts of a confirmed case of Covid-19 in childcare facilities and primary education will end, but not in special education facilities.

Children aged 12 years or younger, who are identified as household close contacts in household settings, will still be required to restrict movements and get tested, regardless of symptomatic status.

The overall public health advice remains that any child aged 12 years or under, who displays symptoms consistent with Covid-19, should rapidly self-isolate and not attend school or to socialise until 48 hours after they are symptom free.