The number of people being treated in Irish hospitals for Covid-19 has fallen for the second day in a row.
This morning 917 people are being treated for the disease in the country's health system, a drop of 24 since Thursday.
Eighty-four people are currently being treated in intensive care units. This is the lowest level since November.
The latest data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) shows deaths related to Covid-19 in Ireland are edging closer to the 6,000-mark, with 5,952 recorded in the State since the pandemic began.
In the week to Tuesday, January 4th, 11 additional Covid deaths were noted, while 157 such deaths were attributed to December.
The figures come as the Department of Health confirmed 21,926 new cases of the virus on Friday evening.
Meanwhile, the Omicron wave of Covid-19 is causing further "unsustainable" disruption to a range of services including healthcare and pharmacies.
However, there is growing optimism among public health officials over the variant’s limited capacity to cause severe disease and death, after a meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) on Thursday said to be “generally upbeat”.
The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) said the situation remained serious with further pressure on health services expected.
There are also concerns that compliance with restrictions may slip amid impressions that Omicron is milder, along with concern that over-30s are not receiving Covid-19 booster vaccines in large enough numbers.
Doctors have warned the Government that their stocks of vaccines may go out of date, which will likely lead to a renewed push for those aged 20-40 to get boosted, The Irish Times reports.