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Covid concern Coronavirus Ireland: Three further deaths and 606 new cases as virus spread linked to ‘increased mobility and interactions'

A total of 312 people are in hospital with the illness as of 8am this morning, with 75 of these patients in ICU.

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Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said there would be a ‘step change’ in the number of people being vaccinated from next month (Oireachtas TV/PA)

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said there would be a ‘step change’ in the number of people being vaccinated from next month (Oireachtas TV/PA)

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said there would be a ‘step change’ in the number of people being vaccinated from next month (Oireachtas TV/PA)

A further three people have died after contracting Covid-19 and 606 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed by the Department of Health this evening.

Of the deaths reported today, two occurred in March and one in February. There has now been a total of 4,631 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland, with 232,758 confirmed cases.

Of the cases notified today, 298 are men and 305 are women, with 75pc being under 45 years of age. The median age is 33 years old.

A total of 312 people are in hospital with the illness as of 8am this morning, with 75 of these patients in ICU.

There have also been 24 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Nationally, 249 cases were in Dublin, 57 in Donegal, 39 in Kildare, 32 in Meath, 31 in Louth and the remaining 198 cases are spread across all other counties.

As of March 22, 690,449 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland, with 503,796 people having received their first dose, and 186,653 people having received their second dose.

Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer said that: “The vast majority of people are making a huge sacrifice and missing time with loved ones in order for us to stay on course with the public health guidance.”

“However, we know that in the week ending March 14, approximately one-in-ten people visited another household for social reasons, with most of these visits involving time spent indoors. While this clearly demonstrates that the vast majority of people are sticking with the public health guidance, it does represent a significant change versus January when just one in 20 people were visiting other homes for social reasons.”

Meanwhile, the Minister for Health warned earlier today that sharp drop in the number of Covid-19 cases among vaccinated cohorts has been offset by an increase in cases associated with social interactions and movement.

Stephen Donnelly said that cases were still high and had been rising in recent days.

He said that while people were “understandably frustrated”, the pandemic would come to an end.

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More than 700,000 vaccines have been administered in Ireland to date (Brian Lawless/PA)

More than 700,000 vaccines have been administered in Ireland to date (Brian Lawless/PA)

More than 700,000 vaccines have been administered in Ireland to date (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr Donnelly also told the Dail there would be a “step change” in the number of people being vaccinated from next month.

To date, more than 700,000 vaccines have been administered in Ireland.

By the end of this month, the country will have received approximately 1.1 million doses of coronavirus vaccine.

But Sinn Fein’s David Cullinane said the number of vaccines received in the first quarter fell short of what was promised as part of the advanced purchase agreements.

There are doubts about whether the shortfall will be made up over the coming weeks and months after the Health Minister said that AstraZeneca had not committed to fulfilling its original obligations.

Mr Donnelly said he was “very frustrated” with AstraZeneca, particularly after it reneged on some of its commitments.

He added: “It must feel to many that this pandemic will never end, many people are very understandably frustrated at what can seem a largely unchanging landscape.

“But pandemics do end. This pandemic will end too. It’s end is firmly in sight."

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