222 people with Covid-19 are in Irish hospitals this morning, it’s lowest point since October 12th.
15 of these are at St Luke’s General Hospital for Carlow & Kilkenny, including one admission in the past day.
It comes as the estimated national 14-day incidence rate of the virus is now 89 cases per 100,000.
Kilkenny’s is still above this, remaining at 132, while Carlow’s is 77.3.
One additional death was announced last night with 306 new cases of the disease, nine of these in Kilkenny with seven in Carlow.
It’s as shops, gyms, hairdressers will re-open this morning as Level 5 Covid19 restrictions are lifted.
People are still being advised to work from home and not to mix with other households.
From today, there’s also a recommendation to wear a face mask outdoors on busy streets.
On Friday, restaurants and pubs serving food can welcome customers back.
Staff at a number of local outlets have been outlining their delight to KCLR, many of them having worked hard behind the scenes ahead of today.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, says it’s important everyone keeps following public health advice as the country re-opens.
Gardaí will be maintaining checkpoints nationwide as part of the country’s move to Level 3.
Over 100 stopping points will be in place daily on Ireland’s main routes, with the support of additional mobile units.
The gardai’s main focus will be to enforce inter-county travel restrictions, which will only be allowed from December 18th.
One person a week will be allowed to visit a Nursing Home resident through Level 3 and 4 Covid-19 restrictions.
Under Level 5 the rule would change to one person every two weeks.
Nursing Homes Ireland says new guidance on visits to nursing homes are a positive development for both families and residents.
It will take effect from December 7th and replaces window visits.
Tadhg Daly from Nursing Homes Ireland says strict health and safety measures will be in place during the visits.
Places of worship can also reopen with church services restricted to 50 people at a time as part of the move back to Level 3.
Bishop of Ossory, Dermot Farrell, says there’ll be strict health and safety measures in place, but people also need to act responsibly.
While it’s not clear if people will be allowed to sing during religious services this Christmas.
Hymns or carols are an important part of the festive spirit that makes this time of the year so special.
But singing or shouting is considered a high risk activity for spreading Covid droplets.
Church of Ireland Bishop of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory, Michael Burrows, says there’s been no official guidance on the issue so far but the music will be missed if it’s not allowed.