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40 additional Covid-19 cases, one additional death

Forty new cases of Covid-19 have been reported to the Department of Health in the past 24 hours, while 1 additional death from the virus has been recorded.

Today's figures bring Ireland's 14-day incidence rate to 18.9 cases per 100,000. The total number of confirmed cases is now 26,838, while 1,774 people have died from the virus.

Of the 40 cases recorded, 21 are men and 19 are women. 12 cases were in Dublin, 11 in Kildare, 7 in Offaly, and the rest of the cases are in Clare, Donegal, Limerick, Meath, Roscommon, Tipperary, Wicklow.

Speaking at the Department of Health's press conference, Professor Philip Nolan said increases in the number of cases in Clare, Limerick, Donegal, Wexford and Carlow are of concern and estimated that the reproduction, or R rate, is now 1.6.

Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn said: "Although today’s number is positive relative to what we saw last weekend, we remain concerned about both the number of cases that are being reported and their distribution across the country.

"The five day average for reported cases nationally is now at 75 per day. Even when we exclude Kildare, Laois and Offaly from this, it remains significantly elevated for the rest of the country at 31 per day.

"It is worth recalling that in late June, the five day average for cases reported was less than 10. In light of this, I ask people to continue to hold firm and continue to closely follow public health advice.”

This comes as Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said outbreaks of the virus are likely to occur when schools reopen in September.

Mr Varadkar said: "It’s almost inevitable that if schools open that there will be clusters in some schools. Does that mean that that school did something wrong or the principal was somehow negligent? Probably not."

The reopening of schools is due to go ahead as normal next month despite concerns that some will not be able to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines due to class sizes facilities in schools.

Funding was made available to schools to carry out alterations to buildings in order to make them compliant with regulations, but the tight timeframe to carry out the necessary works was said to be an issue in many areas.

Elsewhere, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced that the Government will adopt a 'weather warning' based colour-coded system to monitor outbreaks of the virus around the country. Areas will be given a colour; red, orange, yellow or blue.

Areas with a red status may be considered for local lockdown measures, while blue, which is the colour given to vaccines in the medical sector, will be given to areas that have suppressed the virus.