Twenty Seven new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed by the HSE, bringing the total on the island of Ireland to 90.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) announced the new cases at a briefing in Dublin today.
The country’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said two of the new cases are believed to have been transmitted within the community.
Meanwhile, 22 are associated with local transmission and three are associated with travel.
Six people are being treated in an intensive care unit, including three of the new cases.
There are now 70 cases in the Republic and 20 in the North.
The NPHET said it was now advising anyone who experiences symptoms of the virus to self-isolate, regardless of whether they have been in confirmed contact with it.
Previously, self-isolation was only advised if you had been to one of seven affected areas or if you had been in contact with a diagnosed case.
The main symptoms are a cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, fever (high temperature).
Other symptoms include fatigue, headaches, sore throat, aches and pains.
Anyone who is experiencing symptoms should self-isolate for 14 days and contact their GP.
The team called on the public to limit unnecessary social contact as much as possible and warned at-risk groups to avoid close contact with people outside the home.
"Extended period of time"
Earlier today, the Taoiseach announced the closure of schools, colleges and cultural institutions across the control in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.
He said there will be "many more cases" in Ireland and will continue to spread across the world in the coming weeks.
People are being advised to continue to work where they can but work from home wherever possible.
Dr Tony Holohan saying its possible the measures implemented today, schools closing etc. may need to be in placed for an "extended period of time".
They're not willing to speculate on how long these measures could be in place #COVID19
— Kacey O'Riordan (@KaceyORiordan) March 12, 2020
Meanwhile, the Government is calling for indoor social gatherings of over 100 people and outdoor gatherings of over 500 people to be cancelled.
The measures came into force at 6pm this evening and are due to remain until March 29th.
Dr Holohan said the March 29th date will be reviewed in the coming weeks adding “we think that some of these measures may need to be in place for an extended period of time.”
Earlier today, Northern Ireland’s Department of Health said both of its new cases are adults and are secondary transmissions.
It said one involved recent travel to Italy and another can be traced to a previously reported case. There are now 20 cases in the North.
Meanwhile, the total in England, Scotland and Wales has risen to 570 after 132 new cases were diagnosed there in the past 24 hours.
It marks a 29% increase in the UK as a whole, the largest since the outbreak began.
Ten people have now died from the virus in Britain.
Health officials say there is no need for masks or gloves.
The best way to protect yourself from the virus is to:
- Wash your hands properly and often
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
- Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Avoid close contact with people who are not well.
- Avoid crowded places, especially indoors.
- Stay at home if you are sick.
- Follow the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs
Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
Do not share objects that touch your mouth – for example, bottles, cups.