The Tanaiste has warned that Ireland’s Covid crisis is “far worse” than it was at the end of November when the country reopened for Christmas.
Leo Varadkar made the announcement to Fine Gael party colleagues last night.
He added that the recent rise in case numbers is a “definite cause of concern”.
The figures will be taken into account when the Government meets next week to decide whether to ease restrictions in early April, he said.
Last year, Level 5 measures were lifted on December 1st after a six-week lockdown, when the national 14-day incidence rate was 87 per 100,000.
That rate now stands at 159.3, according to the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).
Any easing of restrictions would emphasise outdoor activity, the Taoiseach separately informed the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday night.
The Irish Times reports that Micheál Martin said a sharp increase in the number of people referred for Covid-19 testing has left Ireland’s progress in a “fragile” state.
He expressed concern over a 42% week-on-week increase in the numbers referred for testing on Tuesday.