A further eight deaths and 591 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).
Four of the deaths occurred in March, and the other four in February.
The median age of those who died was 74 years and the age range was 51 to 94 years.
Of the cases notified on Friday:
- 72 per cent are under 45 years of age;
- The median age is 31 years old;
- 288 are located in Dublin, 40 in Kildare, 30 in Meath, 28 in Westmeath, 27 in Laois and the remaining 178 cases are spread across 19 other counties.
As of 8am today, there were 264 Covid-19 patients hospitalised, including 62 in intensive care. 18 additional hospitalisations were seen over the past 24 hours.
The figures follow fears that Ireland could already be entering a fourth wave of the virus.
UCC professor Gerry Killeen expressed concern over a “gentle upward trend” in coronavirus figures, noting that a rise in case numbers to 761 yesterday was expected due to a backlog in swabs.
While the professor believes the country is entering a fourth wave, he also said action can be taken against the UK variant.
“I would just like to reassure everyone that B117 is containable. There is no guarantee for future variants, but it is containable,” he said.
“It can be pushed down if we can just get back to doing all the things that we need to do.”
The public are being urged to stick with Covid-19 restrictions across the island over Easter, with “much brighter days” forecast as vaccinations ramp up.
The call comes from the deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn and the chief medical officer for Northern Ireland Dr Michael McBride, who warned that Covid-19 remains a “very dangerous, very transmissible virus, circulating in our communities.”
Meanwhile, a second anti-lockdown protest is due to take place on Saturday in Cork City centre, with organisers emphasising the peaceful nature of the event.