Earlier in the evening, the Northern Department of Health announced that 369 new cases had been confirmed and a further 12 people who had contracted the coronary virus had died.
330 new cases of the crown virus confirmed by the Department of Health this afternoon.
Eight others who had the Covid-19 on them are missing.
28 of the 330 new cases today involved Cork, 25 in Meath, 21 in Donegal and 15 in Mayo.
There were nine cases in Waterford, six cases in Galway and five cases in Kerry.
99 new cases confirmed in Dublin.
283 people are affected by the coronary virus in hospitals and 33 of them are in an intensive care unit.
The fortnightly rate of the disease in the state has dropped to 113 cases per 100,000 people.
Donegal has a rate of 266, the highest in the country. The rate in Waterford is now 161 and the rate in county Meath is 129.
The rate in Mayo has dropped to 96, Kerry has 83, Cork has 73 and Galway has 66.
The teachers’ unions have been calling for a week to close the schools two days earlier than usual for the Christmas holidays, Friday 18 December. To give courage to the school community and to give teachers, students and other school staff the opportunity to self-isolation before visiting their family on Christmas Day is the reason for this demand.
The Minister for Education told the Oireachtas Education Committee earlier this week that there would be no cuts to the school year unless there was a new health crisis.
Ar Wood Séamus Ó Briain, principal of Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair, said on Raidió na Gaeltachta this morning that they had not had an outbreak in that school yet despite Donegal being one of the worst affected counties in the country. He said the community school had opened earlier in late summer and they were able to take those few days before Christmas.
An analysis, carried out by public health authorities last month for the Health Service Executive but yet to be published, shows that schools are safe and that there is little evidence that workers or students have contracted the virus in school. Despite the spread of the disease in the community in October, and the spread of it in Dublin, the spread of the virus among teachers’ immediate contacts is less than that of students.
One of the recommendations made in the report was that education partners support the authorities and keep close contact at break time and in the staff room as low as possible.
The report states that it is important to remind people that “lunchtime and break time events, friendship circles, and leisure duties have led to“ occasional close contact between people ”. It has often been said that a significant number of close contacts were found in the staff room.
They believe that schools should be kept open but strictly adhere to health and hygiene guidelines. Public health authorities were under considerable pressure to support schools with Covid-19 outbreaks before the November holidays but assistance was provided by the inspection section of the Department of Education.
The Northern Department of Health announced earlier this afternoon that 12 more people who had contracted the coronary virus had died.
369 new cases of the disease were confirmed in the North today.
There are 445 Covid-19 patients in Northern hospitals and 38 of them in an intensive care unit. 99% of the beds there were full today.
To date, 2,931 people have died in Ireland as a result of the pandemic, 2,018 people south of the border and 913 north.
118,887 cases have been confirmed in Ireland to date, 69,802 cases in the south and 49,085 in the north.