IRELAND HAS recorded almost 1,000 new cases of Covid-19 as the Delta variant takes hold in the country.
994 new cases were identified as of 5pm yesterday, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre revealed.
There has also been a slow but steady rise in hospitalisations, with 80 patients now being treated for the virus in hospital including 22 people in Intensive Care Units.
Public health officials have long warned of the potential for the highly transmissible Delta variant to take hold in Ireland, despite the country still being subjected to social distancing rules and the hospitality sector not fully opened.
Yesterday afternoon, HSE Chief Paul Reid warned that Ireland was facing up to 1,000 new cases per day after Wednesday saw the highest increase in numbers since mid-February with 783 new cases.
Northern Ireland yesterday also recorded 1,083 new cases yesterday, up from 636 the day before and the first time cases rose to over 1,000 since the peak of the third wave in January.
Speaking yesterday, Ireland's Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said "More than 70% of the adult population have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and almost 60% of adults are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
"This is of course good news and a great cause for hope, however, there is still a significant cohort of the population who are not yet fully vaccinated, or as is the case with children, for whom vaccination is still a little way off and subject to future guidance.
"People who are unvaccinated, including children, should continue to avoid high-risk, uncontrolled indoor settings. That includes indoor hospitality."
He accepted that "this is a difficult message for people, particularly parents of unvaccinated children to hear, but if we stick with the public health measures, we can limit transmission of this disease and protect others."
The CMO warned that all of public health guidelines are constantly under review, including "all elements of the further reopening of society and looking forward to September and a return to education for students."
"In the meantime, avoid crowds, wear a mask, manage your contacts, keep your distance, meet outdoors where possible, and, if indoors, ensure that the room is well ventilated."