Covid-19: 174 new cases recorded

The wearing of face masks will become mandatory on Monday in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

The number of Covid-19 cases has increased by 174 according to the Department of Health, while one additional death has been recorded.

The total number of cases in the country is now 26,644 and the death toll has risen to 1,772. Of today's cases, 124 were men and 48 were women, while 69 per cent were under the age of 45.

There were 110 cases recorded in Kildare, 27 in Dublin, seven in Cork, seven in Offaly and six in Meath. The remaining cases were spread across 13 other counties.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that Kildare, Laois and Offaly would be placed under lockdown restrictions once again.

The number of new cases being recorded in each of the three counties was a cause of concern for the National Public Health Emergency Team, with Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn confirming on Thursday evening that regional lockdowns could not be ruled out.

Following a meeting of NPHET, Dr Glynn advised Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to reimpose lockdown measures in the three Leinster counties for two weeks.

In a letter to Mr Donnelly, Dr Glynn wrote: "Given the scale of the current outbreaks, there is now a significant volume of infections in the region of Kildare, Laois and Offaly and a real risk that this could spread much more widely in the community in the coming days and weeks."

Restrictions

People in Kildare, Laois and Offaly are now being told to remain in their own county, with garda check points in place to ensure the guidelines are followed.

Restaurants will be forced to close, with only businesses serving takeaway food permitted and people are being advised to work from home where possible.

All indoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of six people from no more than three households and visitation in long-term residential care centres and prisons has been suspended, except on compassionate grounds.

Shops and childcare facilities will remain open, as long as they follow strict social distancing guidelines.