A further 90 Covid-19 related deaths and 928 new cases were confirmed by the Department of Health today.
This brings the total number of cases in the country to 189,851 and the total number of coronavirus related deaths to 3,066.As of Sunday, 143,000 people have been given the Covid-19 vaccine in the Republic of Ireland. However, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said distribution will be delayed in March as the country will not be receiving as much supply from AstraZeneca as expected.
“We have confirmed that the community vaccination programme will begin in February, subject to regulatory approval of AstraZeneca,” he said.
“Despite anticipated disruption to deliveries, which was announced on Friday 22 January, Ireland will receive a delivery of AstraZeneca vaccine within the expected range for February, although at the lower end of that range.
"Delivery in March is likely to be more impacted and considerably lower than what was originally stated by the company."
This comes as Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said stricter sanctions for people breaking the 5km lockdown rule will be considered by the Cabinet.
Since on-the-spot fines were introduced by gardaí two weeks ago for those deemed travelling with non-essential reasons, around 1,500 people have been fined.
Gardaí reminded the public yesterday that foreign holidays are “not deemed essential”.
Gardaí also said that if a driver is found to be in breach of travel regulations and more than 5km from their home, adult passengers can be fined as well as the driver. This is also the case for adults stopped while cycling or walking in groups.
Minister Ryan said there would be increased surveillance to reduce unnecessary travel but said certain workers from the UK, such as those working at power stations, were necessary and needed to travel across the border.
He said the Government will look at introducing “much stricter sanctions in terms of the 5km route” that would also discourage more people from flying.
The Green Party leader added that gardaí had put checkpoints near airports since last Friday in an attempt to cut out non-essential flying.
He warned that authorities needed to “significantly increase their surveillance" to reduce unnecessary travel.
There will be increased checks near the border, Minister Ryan told Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio One, but said the idea of restricting travel across the border, or creating “an all-island bubble isn’t politically possible as of yet.”