Coronavirus: no new deaths and 68 new cases confirmed in the Republic

There have been 68 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in the Republic, according to the Department of Health.

No new deaths related to the disease have been reported, leaving the death toll at 1,772 in the State.

Of the new cases, 41 are confirmed to be associated with outbreaks or are close contacts of a confirmed case, while 2 cases have been identified as community transmission.

There are 19 cases located in Kildare, 17 in Dublin, 15 in Offaly, 12 in Laois and five in Donegal. 82 per cent are under 45 years of age.

There are now a total of 26,712 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the State.

Dr Ronan Glynn, acting chief medical officer, said: “We continue to see cases linked to the outbreaks in counties where additional public health measures have been introduced. This was expected and we will continue to monitor closely.

“From tomorrow face coverings will be mandatory in retail and other indoor settings like hairdressers, cinemas and museums. We know that most people are already wearing face coverings and we hope to see even greater uptake over the coming days.

“Time and again people have shown their willingness to follow public health guidance in the interest of protecting each other from this disease. Wearing a face covering is just one more way in which people can demonstrate their solidarity with one another as we seek to suppress the spread of Covid-19.”

Midlands Lockdown

The figures come as the Midlands counties of Kildare, Laois and Offaly remain in local lockdowns amid a spike in Covid-19 cases linked to outbreaks in meat processing plants and direct provision centres.

Dr Philip Nolan of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has said it is "impossible" to know when the Midlands outbreaks will be brought under control: “There’s a lot of people being tested right now. We’d expect to see quite a number of those tests come through positive.

“So we do expect to see relatively high case counts for the coming days, and then it’s impossible to say when this will be wrestled back under control. It could be a matter of days, it could be significantly longer.”

He said the three counties under lockdown are experiencing new infections at several multiples of the national average, far above the current national incidence of 16.3 infected people per hundred thousand population.

“Kildare is at 130, so that’s close to seven times the national average. Laois is at 70 per hundred thousand, Offaly at 90 per hundred thousand. Looking across the Dublin region with its much higher population, you’re looking at an instance much closer to 10.”