Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tomas Doherty

A further 45 deaths and 575 new cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the Republic.

Forty-one of these deaths occurred in February, and one in January.

Of the new cases, 218 were in Dublin, 38 in Galway, 35 in Louth, 27 in Limerick, 26 in Westmeath and the remaining 231 spread across 20 other counties.

The latest figures show 693 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, with 150 in intensive care.

Offaly has the highest incidence rate in the country at 441 cases per 100,000, followed by Monaghan at 342 and Dublin at 339.

This comes as the Cabinet agreed that Level 5 restrictions are to be extended until April 5th.

The Government has also agreed that the reopening of schools on a phased basis will commence from next week.

Full details of a revised Living with Covid plan are set to be announced by Taoiseach Micheál Martin in a speech at 6pm.

South African variant

Earlier it was confirmed that the first confirmed cases of the South African variant of Covid-19 have been detected in Northern Ireland.

Stormont Health Minster Robin Swann said three cases of the variant had been confirmed.

The minister said a detailed health protection risk assessment and contact tracing response had been deployed and the risk of transmission has been judged to be low at this time.

“I have previously been clear that identification of a confirmed case or cases of this variant in Northern Ireland was inevitable at some point,” said Mr Swann.

“This development does not mean that this variant is going to become the most prevalent or the dominant strain in Northern Ireland.

“However, it does underline once again the very real need for continuing caution in relation to Covid-19.”

Meanwhile, a further five people have died in the North after testing positive for coronavirus.

Another 225 cases of the virus were also notified by the region’s Department of Health on Monday.

There are 376 Covid positive patients in hospital in the North, with 48 in intensive care.

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