Ireland is in for the "long haul" in its fight to suppress Covid-19, according to the Taoiseach.
Míchéal Martin told his parliamentary party last night that the UK variant is increasing the disease's reproductive number by zero-point-five and is slowing the decline in case numbers.
He also told members that reopening schools and construction will be the priority during Level 5, and he expects the numbers of people in hospital to be around 800 by the end of the month.
94 further Covid-19 deaths were reported last night, as well as 1,013 new cases.
96 of the new cases are in Galway, with 20 in Mayo,17 in Sligo, and less than 5 in both Roscommon and Leitrim.
Galway has recorded over 1,000 new cases of the virus over the past 2 weeks, with almost 600 new cases in Mayo.
There are currently 1,300 people with Covid-19 in public hospitals - including 57 Covid patients at Mayo University Hospital, 45 at Galway University Hospital, 39 in Sligo and 8 at Portiuncla in Ballinasloe.