There were 9,591 new cases of Covid-19 reported by the Department of Health today.

Of these, 5,109 were PCR-confirmed while 4,482 were positive antigen tests registered through the HSE portal.

There were 707 patients in hospital with the virus as of 8am this morning, of whom 69 are in intensive care.

It comes as 3,737 new infections and eight further coronavirus-related deaths were reported in Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, the latest data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre shows that a third of patients admitted to intensive care with Covid-19 over the past six months did not survive.

Between 27June, 2021 and 22 January this year, there were 806 people admitted to ICU with the disease, of whom 270 (33.5%) died.

The median age of patients needing critical care treatment was 59 but most (28%) were in the 65 to 74 age group. Just 2% were aged 15 to 24.

The vast majority (80%) of ICU patients admitted with coronavirus had underlying medical conditions.

Among all intensive care admissions in the past six months, 61% were male and 39% were female.

There were 38 cases of Covid-19 among women who were either pregnant or had given birth in the previous six weeks. Of these, 34 had not been vaccinated.

Also today, the impact of Covid-19 on child protection in Ireland was described as "a perfect storm" in the 2021 Annual Report by Ireland's Special Rapporteur on Child Protection.

Elsewhere, the High Court clarified a number of further issues around how pubs should be compensated for the disruption they suffered due to Covid-19.

Four pubs successfully challenged insurance company FBD last year about a failure to pay out as a result of the disruption.

Over 64,000 antigen test kits distributed

More than 64,300 antigen test kits were distributed to families last week as part of the schools' antigen testing programme.

It is the highest number yet and compares to 48,9000 a week earlier, and 28,231 the week before.

Each kit contains 5 tests. Parents are advised to test their child three times over several days, if they have been potentially exposed to the virus in their class or school.

The kits are free of charge and are posted to family homes by the HSE.

They are ordered via a freephone number that parents are directed to by their school.

The latest HSE data shows that in the week ending Friday 23 January, a total of 64,328 kits were distributed.

Additional reporting: Emma O'Kelly