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lATEST FIGURES Coronavirus Ireland: 591 new cases, eight further deaths

There is now a total of 237,187 cases.

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Dr Ronan Glynn

Dr Ronan Glynn

Dr Ronan Glynn

Another 591 cases of Covid-19 and eight further deaths linked to the virus have been reported by the National Public Health and Emergency Team this evening.

Four deaths occurred in March, four in February.

There has been 4,713 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland, while there is now a total of 237,187 cases.

Of the cases notified today, 288 are in Dublin, 40 in Kildare, 30 in Meath, 28 in Westmeath, 27 in Laois and the remaining 178 cases are spread across 19 other counties.

As of 8am today, 264 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 62 are in ICU.

As of Thursday, 840,561 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland.

A total of 603,802 people have received their first dose and 236,759 people have received their second dose.

Meanwhile, Further and Higher Education Minister Simon Harris announced rapid Covid-19 testing schemes are to be piloted in four Irish universities.

It comes after a Government report recommended the use of self-administered antigen testing on a trial basis in schools, colleges, workplaces and within sporting organisations.

The report said the tests could allow people to “take control over their own health”.

It was compiled by the Rapid Testing Group, chaired by Professor Mark Ferguson, director general of Science Foundation Ireland and chief scientific adviser to the Government.

It said pilot schemes should also be run in prisons, homeless shelters and direct provision centres.

Health minister Stephen Donnelly outlined the findings on Thursday.

On Friday, Minister Harris said he was very eager for rapid testing pilots to take place in the third level education sector.

He said pilots would initially be run in four universities.

“Some existing research into rapid Covid-19 testing has already taken place in our universities and it is intended to extend these studies in the coming weeks in line with the report’s recommendations,” he said.

“These pilots will provide learning on the potential role rapid testing can play as an additional tool to assist our plans for additional onsite education in the next academic year.

“Building upon existing collaboration my department will now engage further with key stakeholders including Science Foundation Ireland, universities in a position to act as potential study sites and the HSE."

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