The deputy chief medical officer has warned that Covid-19 rates are rising across the Republic, with more than 10,000 cases recorded in the last week.
Dr Ronan Glynn said that there is currently a “very high incidence” of Covid-19 in counties Donegal, Monaghan, Mayo, Galway, Roscommon, Louth and Cavan.
He also warned that the incidence of Covid-19 cases are now rising across all age groups – not just among those aged 16-29.
“While vaccination has very positively impacted on the proportion of positive cases who end up in hospital or critical care, the current high and increasing incidence will nevertheless result in a significant number of people getting very sick with Covid-19,” Dr Glynn said.
“At the peak of the second wave in October we had 47 people in critical care. Today we have 43, with eight new admissions in the last 24 hours.”
On Friday, a further 1,978 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the State.
There were 221 Covid-19 patients in hospital on Friday morning, 43 of whom were being treated in intensive care.
“Vaccines work, but they must also be supported by all of us continuing to follow the public health advice to keep each other safe and break the chains of transmission of Covid-19. If you plan to socialise this weekend, risk assess your plans,” Dr Glynn said.
It comes as the latest figures reveal that Ireland has one of the highest Covid infection rates in the European Union.
Fresh data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control show that Ireland has a 14-day incidence rate of 392 cases per 100,000.
Only Cyprus (931 per 100,000), Spain (604) and France (462) have a higher rate of infection than Ireland.
Northern Ireland and the Border region are also among the most Covid-infected regions in Europe.