There have been 11,182 new cases of Covid-19 reported by the Department of Health.
This is the highest number of cases reported in a day since the start of the pandemic, surpassing the previous record of 8,248 reported on January 8.
The health ministry said it estimates 83% of cases are due to the Omicron variant.
There are 393 Covid-19 patients in hospitals nationwide, an increase of three from yesterday.
89 of those patients are being treated in intensive care units – a drop of nine from yesterday and the lowest number since November 9.
The Northern Ireland Department of Health also reported a record number of cases, with 3,286 new cases.
Nearly 390,000 people received a booster dose of a Covid-19 vaccine this week, said the chairman of the high-level working group on Covid-19 vaccination.
Professor Brian MacCraith, chair of the High-Level Working Group on Covid-19 Vaccination, said 399,000 doses had been administered this week, including “nearly 390,000” boosters.
“As of noon today, we are at 1.98 million,” he told RTÉ’s News at One, adding that he was confident to reach 1.99 million by the end of the day.
“The original goal we set for Christmas was 1.5 million,” added Professor MacCraith.
83,872 vaccines were administered yesterday, with 8,200 people showing up for their first or second dose of vaccine so far this week, the health minister said earlier today.
In a statement, Stephen Donnelly said that means a total of 1.84 million vaccines have been administered as part of the booster program.
He said this means Ireland has the second highest absorption rate in the European Union for booster vaccination and third dose.
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On January 10, all other adults aged 16 to 29 will be eligible for a booster vaccine, as well as children aged 5 to 11.
Children with underlying health conditions will be offered the jab a week earlier.
Mr McCallion said the Irish PCR testing system has been “under pressure for the past 48 hours” but will continue to operate throughout the Christmas period.
Those looking for a test will be able to benefit from it on Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day, he said, adding that “there will be slightly reduced service.”
Mr McCallion added: “I know it is difficult for people who expect results, but the advice remains the same, if you have symptoms you need to isolate yourself.”
He said that while there did not appear to be any PCR slots available on the website at the moment, people should continue to monitor the website as “there will be slots available during the day as we let’s look at participation rates and referral rates for general practitioners. “
“We are now at a record high number of lab tests of over 235,000 in the past seven days.”
He said people can use the “list your contacts” portal to help speed up the process of testing and tracing close contacts.
HSE updates mask guidelines for healthcare workers
Healthcare workers are now required to wear FFP2 respirator masks when treating patients in all healthcare settings, the HSE said.
Respiratory masks will also be offered to patients in multi-bed or open spaces who can wear them.
They also said all healthcare workers should wear surgical masks for all interactions with colleagues in the healthcare setting where patient care is not provided or maintained.
Deputy CEO warns of rising incidence rates
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn has warned that the incidence of Covid-19 is now increasing across all age groups.
In a Twitter post, he also said that if people have even mild symptoms of a cold or flu, isolate yourself and stay away from others.
Incidence of # COVID-19[FEMALE[FEMININE is now increasing in all age groups. Here are 5 things you can do to keep yourself and those around you safe
1⃣If you have even mild symptoms of a cold or flu, isolate yourself and stay away from others#For all of us
– Dr Ronan Glynn (@ronan_glynn) December 24, 2021
Everyone should restrict their movements if they live with someone who has a positive antigen or PCR test.
People arriving from overseas should have daily antigen tests for five days, he said.
If they are positive or develop symptoms, they should self-isolate and book a PCR test, Dr Glynn added.
He also urged people not to meet elderly or vulnerable people if they have already met a lot of people this week.
“It’s a difficult message right now, but it’s important if we are to protect each other,” he said.