Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn has said Ireland has "many reasons for hope" facing into next week.
In a statement from the Department of Health on Sunday, Dr Glynn confirmed the 303 new cases of Covid-19 today was the "lowest number of daily cases reported since mid December", adding: "People's efforts continue to make a real difference."
Dr Glynn cited the lifting of the 5km limit for non-essential journeys tomorrow as another reason for optimism, along with the "lowest number of people newly hospitalised with Covid-19 since the end of November" which was seen on Sunday morning.
Good start to the weekend as #COVID19 hospital numbers are down to 208 & 51 in ICU. We could be on a good trend with the early benefits of the vaccines reducing the sickness levels for the most vulnerable. The light is shining a little brighter for now. @HSELiveAdvertisement
— Paul Reid (@paulreiddublin) April 10, 2021
On Saturday, head of the HSE Paul Reid tweeted that the "light is shining a little brighter now", commenting on the falling number of people with the virus in hospitals.
"We could be on a good trend with the early benefits of the vaccines reducing the sickness levels for the most vulnerable," Mr Reid said.
Acknowledging the one millionth Covid-19 vaccine dose being administered in the State earlier this week, Dr Glynn said we should see a "step-change" in the number of doses administered from next week.
According to the Department as of April 8th, there were 1,045,919 doses of Covid-19 vaccines administered in the State. These include 735,997 first and 309,922 second doses.
The return of all children to school tomorrow was the final indicator of progress offered by the deputy CMO, adding: "If we can maintain this progress, vaccines and the basic public health measures, with which we are all so familiar, are our way out of this pandemic."
Dr Glynn reiterated that workers should continue to work from home where possible, not taking the return of children to school as a signal to go back to the workplace, and again urged people to avoid mixing with other households indoors.
When meeting outside, he asked that people maintain their distance and only meet with people from one other household at a time, reminding the public that those who have received the Covid-19 vaccine are only fully protected two weeks after they have received their second dose.