Another 592 cases of Covid-19 have been detected in Ireland today.
The country’s death toll has also risen by 10 this evening.
Of those new cases, 35 were reported in Donegal today
The number of people with Covid in ICU had dropped to 87, down five from yesterday.
Nphet have tonight also recommended that nursing homes residents can receive two visits a week from Match 22.
The visits will be allowed under “general compassionate grounds” and will be allowed to last beyond an hour.
It is an increase from the current guidance where one visit per resident is allowed every two weeks.
In a statement, the Department of Health said: “The advanced stage of the vaccination rollout in nursing homes provides an opportunity for cautious incremental changes in some public health measures, including on visiting.
“The new visitation guidance incorporates early learning from the positive impact of the vaccine rollout nationally and internationally and will provide enhanced opportunity for visiting in nursing homes across all levels of the government’s plan.”
The new guidance says visits will be possible two weeks after full vaccination of around 80 per cent of residents and healthcare workers in a nursing home.
It provides for increased visiting across levels 3 to 5 “subject to risk assessment and no open outbreak”.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly welcomed the development, stating: “This new guidance is a welcome development and underpins the type of benefits that arise from the implementation of the vaccine programme.
“I hope that these modifications in the application of the public health protective measures reinforce the real hope that the vaccines are bringing us and continue the journey towards a more normal lived experience.”