19,290 cases of Covid-19 confirmed as Tánaiste says it’s too early to talk about easing restrictions

Leo Varadkar says he can't guarantee the 8pm closing for hospitality will be lifted by end of January

19,290 new cases of COVID-19 have been officially confirmed.

1,062 patients are being treated for the virus in hospital – 92 are in ICU.

46 patients with the virus are at St Luke’s in Kilkenny but none need intensive care.

Kilkenny and Carlow came in 3rd and 5th worst in the country, respectively, for the 7-day incidence rates over Christmas.

The Tánaiste has said he can’t guarantee the 8pm closing time for hospitality and cinemas will be lifted by the end of January.

It’s unlikely to be considered before next week with the Government saying the peak of the current wave of Covid is still to come.

Leo Varadkar says there are positive signs about the number of people needing hospital and critical care but it’s too early to start easing restrictions.