Non-Covid healthcare services in Irish hospitals may need to be cancelled to facilitate critical care cases from Northern Ireland.
Senior Government sources told The Irish Times that hospital beds in the Republic may be needed in the event of a further surge of coronavirus cases in the North.
The sources said this could lead to the cancellation or deferral of non-Covid healthcare services.
There are 317 Covid-19 cases receiving treatment in hospitals in the North, with 37 in intensive care.
The Northern Ireland Department of Health said there was “no immediate or anticipated need” for patients to receive treatment in the Republic in a statement issued on Sunday.
A spokesman for the department added that “should either jurisdiction require support this will be provided where possible”.
He cited a “longstanding co-operation between respective authorities and health services in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland".
There were 15 intensive care beds available in hospitals in the North on Sunday.
This does not include the extra 150 ICU beds which can be made available at temporary critical care “Nightingale” hospitals.
Government sources also told The Irish Times that a review of Covid-19 cases in the Republic in mid-November could see the 5km travel restriction eased.
However, the sources said it is likely that Level 5 restrictions will remain in place for six weeks as planned.
Meanwhile, a new survey has found that just over half of Irish people would take a Covid-19 vaccine.
This new poll commissioned by the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association has found 55 per cent of people would get the Covid-19 vaccine if one was available.