HEALTH officials have announced 40 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.
The cases are in 23 males, 17 females.
Twenty-five cases are associated with the east of the country, nine are associated with the west, six are associated with the south.
There have so far been 2 deaths associated with COVID-19 in Ireland and there are now 169 confirmed cases in the Republic.
The HSE is now working to identify any contacts the patients may have had, to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.
The Government has today called on all pubs, including hotel bars, to close from this evening until at least the 29th March.
Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said;
"In regard to upcoming St. Patrick's Day celebrations, the Government is calling on all members of the public not to organise or participate in any parties in private house or other venues which would put other peoples lives at risk.
"Everyone is asked to reduce their social contact over this time period. House parties/ COVID parties carry the same risks as being in a pub/club, therefore people should not organise or attend them. The virus is now in our community, it is up to us to limit its spread.
"Now is the time for action and to heed the public health advise we will continue to provide."
Rachel Kenna, Deputy Chief Nurse, Department of Health, added: "Healthcare workers across the service are working under extraordinary conditions, preparing for the potential impact of COVID-19.
"If all citizens work together and comply with social distancing guidelines, and other measures the Government may take in the coming weeks, we will have a stronger response to this virus. Help our healthcare workers in their task."
The National Public Health Emergency Team will meet on Monday 15 March to continue its review of Ireland's ongoing preparedness to COVID-19.