The annual spring count of people sleeping rough in the Dublin area has been postponed because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) organises a spring count in March and a winter count in November each year carried out by 100 volunteers.

In a statement a spokesperson for the DRHE said this year's count has been deferred but added: "we are consistently monitoring the number of people sleeping rough in Dublin Region via our Outreach teams who report numbers on a weekly basis."

The statement added that the focus is at the moment is to ensure people sleeping rough are aware of the risk of Covid-19, know the precautions that they can take and to support them accessing services and emergency accommodation.

The DRHE is using a system of "continuous bookings" to ensure that each person is using the same bed while movements are being restricted as much as possible.

Charities like Dublin Simon has been distributing person protection equipment such as disposable masks and gloves as well as advice on health precautions.

Homeless charities are also providing outdoor hand-washing facilities.

The last rough sleeper count for winter 2019 found 90 people bedded down on the streets which was the lowest winter figure since 2012.