DUBLIN (Reuters) – The total confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ireland rose by 500 to 6,574 on Thursday, the highest daily total so far, although health officials said a stabilisation in the numbers admitted to intensive care units was encouraging.

There has also been a day-on-day reduction in the growth rate, averaged out over the preceding five days, to 9% from 15% a week ago, Professor Philip Nolan, chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group said.

“The growth in cases is slowing down but frankly that number needs to be zero in order to have controlled or suppressed this epidemic,” Nolan told a news conference, as the death toll from the virus rose to 263 from 235 a day earlier.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Chris Reese)