The Department of Health has been notified of 8,248 new cases of Covid-19, Ireland's largest daily increase since the start of the pandemic, and 20 additional deaths.
Of today's cases, 3,834 were men, 4,375 were women and 61 per cent were under the age of 45.
Dublin recorded 3,013 cases, while there were 1,374 in Cork, 538 in Limerick, 314 in Kildare and 310 in Donegal. The remaining 2,699 cases were spread across all remaining counties.
As of 2pm today, there were 1,180 people with Covid-19 in hospital, 109 of whom were being treated in Intensive Care Unit's around the country.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said three of the cases notified today were a new variant detected in South Africa and each were traced back to recent travel from South Africa.
"Anyone who has travelled from South Africa recently is advised to self-isolate for 14 days and identify themselves through a GP for testing as soon as possible," Dr Holohan said.
“We are particularly advising healthcare workers travelling from South Africa, that it is essential that they self-isolate for 14 days before entering/re-entering the workplace," he added.
Today's record figures come after the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) said yesterday that Ireland may be past the peak of the third wave as numbers had begun to stabilise in recent days.
Speaking at Thursday's Covid-19 press briefing, chair of Nphet's modelling advisory group Professor Philip Nolan said all Covid-19 indicators remain at record levels but growth may be slowing amid the impact of Level 5 restrictions.
Earlier today, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen confirmed the EU has doubled its initial order of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, giving it access to an additional 300 million doses.
It was also reported today that the Pfizer jab is effective against the new variant of the virus detected in the UK which is said to be more transmissible.
According to Professor Brian MacCraith "big numbers" of people will have been vaccinated by the summer if other brands become available shortly.
This comes after the Moderna vaccine secured approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) earlier this week and the AstraZeneca shot is expected to be approved by the end of January.
Both the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines will be huge additions to the widespread roll-out in Europe as they do not require storage at ultra-low temperatures like the Pfizer shot.