The Department of Health has been notified of a further 4,235 new cases of Covid-19 and confirmed the total number of cases stemming from the Omicron variant is now at 42.
They said as of 8am today, 470 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, and 105 people are in ICU.
The Department said there has been a total of 5,835 deaths related to Covid-19 notified in Ireland. This includes 47 deaths newly notified in the past week (since last Wednesday).
They added that 24 additional cases of the Omicron variant have been detected, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 42.
— Department of Health (@roinnslainte) December 15, 2021
The news comes as the Taoiseach has said there will be "flexibilities" around the festive season and New Year's Eve.
As the Irish Examiner reports, speaking in Brussels, Micheál Martin was specifically asked about how pubs are to handle New Year's Eve, when current restrictions mean pubs must close at midnight.
"The situation is challenging with Omicron and I fully appreciate the frustration people are experiencing because of this long pandemic but people are using their common sense and taking precaution, and flexibility in people's behaviour is going to be there," the Taoiseach said.
"I think being overly prescriptive is not the way forward here and we must trust people as well about how they go about their daily lives.
"Obviously public health advice will come, there will be a meeting of Nphet tomorrow evening and I would prefer to wait for that and government's response to that before getting into specifics, but suffice to say, all, including public health officials, realise the festive season is upon us, an important part of the year when families get together and we recognise the obvious human factors involved and flexibilities will apply."
Mr Martin added that no Cabinet meeting has been set yet for Friday but "potentially we'll wait and see" after he had a "casual" meeting last night with the Chief Medical Officer and teased out the situation on Omicon and Covid-19.
"The Government will keep this under constant review, we're nimble to respond when necessary," he added.
Meanwhile, the chef medical officer, Tony Holohan urged people to be careful in the lead up to Christmas.
On Twitter he said: "Today marks ten days before Christmas. If you contract Covid-19 today your isolation period will include Christmas Day. This can be avoided by ensuring you take every step possible to protect yourself."
"If you are planning to spend Christmas with older family members, anyone immunocompromised or vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19, it is best that you take precautions from today.
"Avoid crowds, limit your contacts, work from home unless absolutely necessary, risk assess your environments and make safe choices over the coming days and weeks.
"Everyone should be aware that Omicron spreads very easily, and we have now identified community transmission in Ireland, to the extent that this variant now accounts for approximately 13 per cent of all reported cases."
Today marks ten days before Christmas. If you contract #COVID19 today your isolation period will include Christmas Day. This can be avoided by ensuring you take every step possible to protect yourself.
— Dr Tony Holohan (@CMOIreland) December 15, 2021