A further 50 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported, along with 3,498 new cases.
This brings the total number of deaths here to 2,536 and the total number of cases to 166,548.
Of the 50 deaths reported, all took place this month. The median age of those who died was 82, although the age range was 45-96 years.
According to the Department of Health's deputy chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, the country has worked "exceptionally hard in recent weeks to reduce our close contacts".
"At the end of December, the number of close contacts per confirmed case peaked at approximately six. That has now dropped to 2.3 contacts. This enormous effort is the reason we are seeing case numbers beginning to fall.
"We know that it is extremely difficult to keep our close contacts to a minimum, particularly over an extended period of time. But this is the main way we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19," he commented.
He urged people to continue to stay home.
Meanwhile, according to the chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, new variants of COVID-19, which have recently been identified in Brazil, and in travellers from Japan to Brazil, have so far not been found in Ireland.
"Anyone who has travelled from Brazil in the last 14 days is advised to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of arrival, and identify themselves, through a GP, for testing as soon as possible.
"It is essential that anyone arriving from Brazil self-isolate for 14 days from the date of arrival before entering/re-entering the workplace. We are particularly appealing to employers to enable their employees to protect each other by staying at home for the full 14 days," Dr Holohan said.
He noted that further risk assessment of the new variants is expected from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in the coming week.
"We must all continue to adhere to every element of the public health advice. This remains our best defence against COVID-19," he added.
Discussions on this topic are now closed.