Twenty seven new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland today.
It brings the total number in the country to 70.
The announcement was made by Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, who said that the majority of new diagnoses were associated with local transmission.
Two of the new cases were caused by community transmission, while three were associated with travel.
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar earlier today announced major steps to limit gatherings in Ireland to curtail the spread of the virus.
From 6pm this evening, all schools, colleges, and childcare facilities have closed, along with cultural institutions. The closure is effective until 29th March.
Mr Varadkar also advised that all indoor mass gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor mass gatherings of more than 500 people should be cancelled.
“We need the public and businesses to take a sensible and level-headed responsible approach,” he said.
He added: “As a general rule, outside of work people should seek to reduce social interactions as much as possible.
“You can play your part by hand washing, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, and seeking medical advice if you develop symptoms. This is now more important than ever.”