There has been a marked fall in the number of Covid-19 outbreaks recorded in schools, according to the latest Health Protection Surveillance Centre data.

There were 10 clusters identified in schools last week, compared to 21 the week before, and 30 and 46 in the two weeks before that.

These latest 10 outbreaks bring to 187 the total number of clusters of the virus in schools notified to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre since facilities reopened in September.  

The HSPC says while these outbreaks have involved school children and school staff, transmission of the virus within the school "has not necessarily been established".

The number of Covid outbreaks identified in households has more than doubled in the space of a week, according to HPSC data.

The data shows 954 clusters were notified last week in relation to private houses. This compares to 443 household outbreaks for the previous week. 

A cluster, or outbreak, is when two or more cases of the virus are discovered. 

Secondary school buses operating above recommended capacity

Half of secondary school buses around the country continue to operate above the recommended 50% capacity rate.

The Department of Education has confirmed that only 51% of buses are operating with social distancing in place, three months into the school year.

Over 2,500 routes are being re-assessed by Bus Éireann in an effort to abide by the latest public health advice with the aim of implementing the measures across all services before the end of the year.

In order to achieve that, the state-owned service is in the middle of recruiting an extra 1,600 drivers -  a 30% increase on the existing network.

In September, the Government agreed to provide necessary funding of up to €135 million to expand the network and ensure the implementation of public health guidelines.

Buses catering to primary school children are not restricted to 50% capacity.

Additional reporting Amy Ní Riada