Coronavirus: eight deaths and 329 new cases in Republic

ireland
There are a further 486 new cases of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, along with another six deaths. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images.
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Sarah Mooney

There have been eight further deaths and 329 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in the Republic this evening.

Of the cases notified today, 64 per cent are under 45 years of age with a median age of 37 years old.

There are 86 cases located in Dublin, 41 in Louth, 34 in Donegal, 25 in Limerick, 17 in Kildare and the remaining 126 cases are spread across another 20 counties.

As of 2pm this afternoon, there were 196 people hospitalised with the virus, with 31 in intensive care.

Tuesday saw a further 486 cases of the disease confirmed in Northern Ireland, along with six further deaths. Close to 3,000 people were tested over a one-day period, with a 16 per cent positivity rate.

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It comes as the Minister for Health said the vaccination of the Irish population may now begin before the new year.

Speaking at the launch of the State's National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy, Stephen Donnelly said it was a day of "hope" as health officials outlined their plan to distribute vaccines across the island.

Facing strong pressure from Germany and other EU nations, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has brought forward a meeting to assess the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to December 21st.

Minister Donnelly said Covid-19 vaccines would be rolled out across the country in three phases - the initial roll-out, a mass ramp-up and finally, open access.

However, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan cautioned the arrival of vaccines would not mean “zero-Covid” and a roll-out would not have an impact on the trajectory of the disease for months to come.

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Covid-19 vaccinations may begin in Ireland this mo...
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Mr Donnelly also warned there was a continued need for the country to "keep our shape" in terms of adherence to Covid-19 measures.

"Right now, we have the lowest rate of Covid-19 of any country in the EU. It is important to remember that Covid-19 is still out there, and it is still dangerous and, in some cases, fatal," he said.

"Cases of Covid-19 have crept up again in recent days, and so we must all be careful.”

Infectious disease specialist Professor Sam McConkey has said the country's return to Level 3 in early December is starting to impact on case numbers, with cases rising in 23 out of 26 counties pointing to further restrictions in January.

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