The number of deaths in the Republic from COVID-19 has exceeded 2,000, the Department of Health has confirmed.
Twelve additional deaths were reported on Wednesday evening, brining the total number of deaths here to 2,006. A further 379 cases of the virus were also reported, bringing the total number of cases to 69,058.
Of the 379 confirmed cases, 116 occurred in Dublin, 38 in Donegal, 30 in Meath, 27 in Cork, 22 in Limerick and 22 in Louth.
As of 2pm on Wednesday, there were 282 people in hospital with confirmed COVID, 33 of whom were in ICU. There had been 22 additional hospitalisations in the previous 24 hours.
The 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 of the population in the 14 days up to midnight on November 17 was 119.9 nationally. However nine counties were above this national average, with Donegal the worst affected, at 295.9 per 100,000, followed by Limerick (237) and Louth (169.1).
The counties with the lowest 14-day incidence rate were Wexford (46.1), Wicklow (62.5) and Galway (77.1).
Acknowledging the number of deaths in the country so far, the department's chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said that the pandemic "has impacted, directly and indirectly, on families and communities all across Ireland".
"It is important that we continue to work together if we are to suppress this virus and protect as many people as possible. For the next two weeks, work from home, stay at home and follow public health advice," he said.
Meanwhile, earlier on Wednesday, Pfizer Inc and German partner, BioNTech, announced that their COVID-19 vaccine is 95% effective and has passed its phase 3 safety checks. They said that they would be applying to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorisation (EUA) "within days".
"The study results mark an important step in this historic eight-month journey to bring forward a vaccine capable of helping to end this devastating pandemic. We continue to move at the speed of science to compile all the data collected thus far and share with regulators around the world.
"With hundreds of thousands of people around the globe infected every day, we urgently need to get a safe and effective vaccine to the world," commented Pfizer chairperson and CEO, Dr Albert Bourla.
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