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A further 359 cases were confirmed.

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Ireland has recorded the lowest number of daily cases of coronavirus infections since mid-December, the deputy chief medical officer said (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Ireland has recorded the lowest number of daily cases of coronavirus infections since mid-December, the deputy chief medical officer said (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Ireland has recorded the lowest number of daily cases of coronavirus infections since mid-December, the deputy chief medical officer said (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Ireland has recorded the lowest number of daily cases of coronavirus infections since mid-December, the deputy chief medical officer said.

Another 14 deaths with Covid-19 have been recorded.

A further 359 positive diagnoses were confirmed.

Dr Ronan Glynn said: “While the low number of cases reported today may be attributable to a weekend effect, it is nevertheless very welcome and represents the lowest number of cases reported on a single day since mid-December.

“While we continue to make good progress in Ireland, globally in the past week the number of cases of Covid-19 has increased for the first time in seven weeks. We must not allow this virus the opportunity to do the same here.

“Please hold firm to the public health advice and together we can continue to protect and build on the progress we have made over the last two months.”

The positivity rate among those tested is falling and the number of infections is coming down after strict lockdown measures were imposed, public health experts have said.

Official plans to unwind the restrictions have been criticised by some.

Some special needs students will not be returning to school for almost another six weeks.

Sinn Fein’s Donnchadh O Laoghaire told the Dail’s Education Committee that parents of children with special educational needs “feel like they’ve been forgotten” by the Department of Education.

Mr O Laoghaire said: “From what’s happening, for those children, they don’t seem to be a priority.

“There doesn’t seem to be any mention of a priority for children with additional needs in secondary schools.

“Do you think it will be right that a student in first year or second year with additional needs will have to wait until April 12, almost six weeks away, until they can get back into the classroom?

“Surely there must be some way to get them in school support in advance of that.”

Junior Minister for Special Education Josepha Madigan said there are about 8,500 special educational needs (SEN) students in primary school and that about half of those, or 4,000, were back in their classrooms.

Special needs schools, having returned on a limited basis two weeks ago, returned to full capacity on Monday.

But children with special needs who attend mainstream schools are returning to the classroom along with their peers.

Junior and senior infants, first and second class primary school pupils as well as Leaving Certificate students returned to school on Monday.

March 15 will see the return of the rest of primary school children – third to sixth class and fifth year Leaving Certificate students.

But secondary school students in first, second, third and fourth year will have to wait until April 12, after the Easter break, before they return to school.

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