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Latest figures Virologist says mutated Covid virus likely to be in Ireland as 13 further deaths and 938 new cases confirmed

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There has been a further 13 Covid-19 related deaths while 938 new cases of the virus confirmed by the Department of Health this evening.

This brings the Covid-19 death toll to 2,184 while the total number of confirmed cases in Ireland now stands at 82,155.

A total of 416 of the new cases are men and 517 are women.

Of the cases notified today, 300 are in Dublin, 110 in Cork, 72 in Limerick, 68 in Donegal, 41 in Kildare and the remaining 347 cases are spread across 21 other counties.

The median age is 36 years old and 65 pc are under 45 years of age.

As of 2pm today 251 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 25 are in ICU. 24 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said: “The NPHET met today and reviewed the current epidemiological situation and has made recommendations to government.

"Every indicator of the disease is rising and rising rapidly. Our level of concern continues to escalate. We must do all we can individually and collectively to change the course of this disease.”

“Revise your Christmas plans to ensure social contacts are limited and that hand hygiene, physical distance, ventilation and face covering measures are in place if you must have visitors to your home.”

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said: The epidemiological situation reviewed today is the most serious it has been since last March.

"People should act at all times as if they or those they come into contact with are infectious. The disease has spread across all parts of the country and all age groups, we must act now to protect each other.”

“It is inevitable that people will get sick and die as a result of this escalation, but it is not too late for all of us to do all we can to minimise that impact and to protect as many people as possible.”

Dr Cillian De Gascun, Medical Virologist and Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory said: “ Preliminary data would suggest, based on a selection of samples analysed from the weekend, that the novel variant from the UK is present in Ireland.

"However, given the timeline of the samples analysed, it would seem that the novel variant is not solely responsible for the recent increase in case numbers seen in Ireland.”

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