LATEST: Close contact rules relaxed as 20,909 new cases of virus confirmed
A further 20,909 people have contracted Covid-19, the Department of Health confirmed this evening.
And the number of patients being treated in hospital for the virus now stands at 1,055, a drop of seven. Of these, 92 are being treated in ICU.
The latest cases come as the Cabinet today approved changes to the isolation periods for Covid-19. The changes will take effect from midnight tomorrow.
The move brings an end to the five day isolation period for fully vaccinated close contacts who do not have any Covid-19 symptoms. However, close contacts are still advised to wear a medical or higher grade mask and to take regular antigen tests.
Close contacts who have not received a booster vaccine will still have to restrict their movements for seven days.
The decision also means that anyone who has Covid-19 will now have to isolate for seven rather than ten days. There will also no longer be a requirement to confirm an antigen test result with a PCR test for people aged four to 39 years.
Speaking earlier, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the Health Service Executive website will be upgraded to allotp w people upload positive antigen tests and close contact details, after which they will then be sent tests.