The Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, Dr Ronan Glynn, has this evening expressed cautious optimism over the latest Covid-19 case numbers.
The Department of Health has confirmed that 359 new cases of Covid-19 have been diagnosed in Ireland as of midnight last night - the lowest number of cases reported on a single day since mid-December.
Fourteen additional Covid-19 related deaths have also been notified to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) today.
Of those deaths, three occurred in March, 10 occurred in February and one occurred in November.
Of the 359 new cases reported today, there are 159 in Dublin, 25 in Westmeath, 21 in Louth, 21 in Galway, 19 in Meath and the remaining 114 cases are spread across 19 other counties.
In Cork, there are 15 new cases as of midnight last night.
The 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population in Cork up to March 1 was 66.3 and a total of 360 cases were recorded in Cork in the same 14-day period.
Commenting on the new case numbers in the country today, Dr Glynn said the decrease in case numbers may be "attributable to a weekend effect", but said the drop is nonetheless welcome.
“While the low number of cases reported today may be attributable to a weekend effect, it is nevertheless very welcome and represents the lowest number of cases reported on a single day since mid-December," he said.
"Please hold firm to the public health advice and together we can continue to protect and build on the progress we have made over the last two months," he continued.
As of 8am today, 498 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 116 are in ICU.
There have been 28 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.
As of February 27, 435,895 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland.
Some 294,550 people have received their first dose, whilst 141,345 people have received their second dose
So far in Ireland, there have been 220,630 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 4,333 Covid-19 related deaths.