Ireland logged a further 8,788 cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, according to the Department of Health, as mask-wearing by law ended earlier this week.
4,042 cases were confirmed by PCR test, while 4,746 positive antigen test results were uploaded to the HSE portal. The Department has cautioned that self-registered test results are not directly comparable with laboratory PCR-confirmed cases.
There were 661 patients hospitalised with the virus as of this morning, with 46 people in intensive care.
It comes as most remaining Covid-19 rules eased at the beginning of the week, including mandatory mask-wearing in certain settings.
Since Monday, mask-wearing can no longer be enforced by law, however, public health advice recommends that masks continue to be worn on public transport and in healthcare settings.
Rules in schools have also changed, with social distancing and pods ended, along with staggered break times. The test and trace system has also been rolled back.
Changes have additionally been made in the wider testing system, with PCR tests now only recommended for over-55s and people deemed medically vulnerable.
Close contacts who do not show symptoms do not need to seek a test, unless they are a household close contact working in a healthcare setting.
Isolation rules for those who test positive for the virus or who display any of its symptoms remain in place, while the Digital Covid Certificate remains a requirement for international travel.
While mandatory mask-wearing requirements have lifted, some employers can continue to require their staff to wear a mask and are within their rights to do so, according to an employment law solicitor.