Five people die of Covid-19; Dr Holohan to step back from duties to spend time with seriously ill wife

Another five people have died of Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland.

15 more cases of the virus have also been confirmed.

It brings the death toll in this country to 1,738, and the number of confirmed cases now stands at 25,489.

“What has been a collective and effective national effort to suppress Covid-19 in Ireland, now also becomes an individual mission," said Dr Tony Holohan.

"Every person must risk assess their own environments, make appropriate decisions about where they will go and who they will meet, and how they can ensure their safety and the safety of those around them.

Continue to follow public health advice, understand the risks of your actions and environments and stay safe.

Dr Holohan confirmed today he is stepping away from his work as his wife is receiving palliative care. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2012.

"From today I'll be taking time out from all of my work commitments to be with my family," he said at today's briefing.

"My wife, Emer, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, in 2012. She has had a number of difficult years with her disease and was admitted for palliative care last Saturday. I now want to give my energy, attention and all of my time to Emer and to our two teenage children, Clodagh and Ronan."

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin thanked Dr Holohan for his work during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would like to thank Dr Holohan on behalf of myself and the people of Ireland for helping to guide this country through the Covid-19 emergency," Mr Martin said.

"His work, experience and briefings helped people to understand the gravity of the situation facing us, while his calmness reassured us that if we followed the guidelines and advice we would overcome these great challenges together.

"Every home in Ireland has come to know Dr Tony Holohan. His leadership during the pandemic has given us all confidence that the decisions being made are based on solid public health advice.

As a country we owe him and his family a great debt of gratitude.

Ronan Glynn will serve as Acting Chief Medical Officer.

There has been a slight increase in Covid-19 cases confirmed this week.

“The reproductive number is now estimated to be closer to 1 than it has been in recent weeks. The R number is easily influenced by small changes to the transmission of the virus," said Professor Philip Nolan.

“We have noticed an increase in the number of cases towards the end of last week. It is a trend that NPHET will continue to monitor closely.”