The Department of Health has reported 20,909 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 this afternoon.
There were 1,055 confirmed cases in hospitals across the country at 8am this morning, with 92 cases in intensive care units.
A total of 83 deaths have been notified since last Wednesday.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said that today’s changes to the public health management of COVID-19 cases and close contacts are framed in light of available evidence, expert views and the international experience of COVID-19, including the recently published guidance from ECDC.
“The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is continuing to have a significant impact on all areas of our society and economy due to its increased growth advantage compared to Delta,” said Dr Holohan.
“There are some early, positive indicators however, that suggest infection from Omicron results in less severe illness and reduced requirement for care in hospital.
“It is important to note that the changes announced today cover a range of measures from self-isolation and restriction of movements to mask wearing and testing.”
He said that these measures are more proportionate to the current level of infection and the impact it is having.
“In particular, while we are reducing the requirement to self-isolate and restrict movements for cases and close contacts respectively, we are strengthening guidance relating to mask wearing and reduced social contact for the full ten days following diagnosis or last known close contact.
“These measures are intended to maintain our protection of public health while reducing pressure on the health service and enabling the continued operation of other economic and social sectors in society, including essential services.”