One further death and 85 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the Republic, the Department of Health has said.
Some of the newly confirmed cases involve a factory in Kildare which was closed last Friday. Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said the factory had seen 30 to 40 positive cases and not all tests have been returned yet.
A total of 18 of Thursday’s tally were associated with the factory.
A number of workers at the factory resided in at least two direct provision centres in the midlands and outbreak control teams are working with them.
Dr Glynn said 68 per cent of those diagnosed were aged under 45.
“I hope this is a blip, I hope we see a much smaller number of cases tomorrow,” he said.
He added he hoped schools could be opened later this summer and health services reconstructed.
A smaller number of cases were associated with the construction industry and others with households and extended families.
Of the cases, 26 are located in Kildare, 18 in Dublin, 11 in Clare, 9 in Laois, 7 in Limerick, 4 in Meath and the remainder are spread across seven other counties.
A total of 1,763 people have now died from Covid-19 in the State since the pandemic began earlier this year. Some 26,027 cases of the disease have been reported.
Dr Glynn said: “Today’s figures demonstrate how quickly Covid-19 can remerge in our country.
“We are now at a crucial point in our response to Covid-19. Over the coming days it is vital that everyone continues to avoid large crowds, physically distance, wear face coverings where appropriate and wash hands regularly.
“Covid-19 is extremely infectious and no one is immune. Follow public health advice and stay vigilant.”
Prof Philip Nolan, chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said: “Over a two-day period Ireland moved from a relatively stable epidemiology to a significant pattern connected to outbreaks ... We must remain vigilant to the disease if we are to control it at this point.”
Dr Siobhan Ni Bhriain of the HSE said: “In order to maintain health services in areas outside of Covid-19, suppression of the disease in the community is paramount. By protecting yourself from the disease you are contributing to a patient’s ability to access other services.”