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Latest figures 1,283 new Coronavirus cases and three further deaths confirmed

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Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan

There has been 1,283 new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland and three further deaths, the Department of Health confirmed this evening.

There are now 49.962 cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, while the death toll stands at 1,852.

Out of today's cases, 628 are men and 651 are women. A total of 68 percent are under 45 years of age and the median age of people who contracted the virus is 31 years old.

There were 408 cases in Dublin, , 156 in Cork, 88 in Kildare, 80 in Meath, 55 in Limerick and the remaining 496 cases are spread across 21 counties.

As of 2pm today, 277 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 33 are in ICU. 17 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

The new figures come after Nphet yesterday recommended nationwide level five restrictions be put in place for six weeks

Former Health Minister Simon Harris told RTE today that new restrictions would have to be introduced on a nationwide basis from tomorrow.

"It is clear now the virus is at such a level that a county by county approach is not sufficient. Level 3 has not worked in terms of getting the virus to where it needs to get to," he said.

Level five restrictions would mean the public would be advised not to travel further than 5km from their home, and no public gatherings other than small funerals or weddings would be permitted to take place.

Pubs and restaurants would only be allowed open to provide delivery or takeaway service.

Speaking outside Government Buildings, earlier today, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said he “wasn’t surprised” by Nphet's recommendation of another lockdown.

Mr Varadkar said: “As we know from the last lockdown when you get into it it can go on a lot longer than you think and it can be quite slow to get out of it again.

“The view I would hear some times from retailers and restaurateurs is ‘let’s lockdown now and we can reopen and have a normal Christmas’ but I would be loathe to make that promise,” he added.

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