Ireland is in the grip of a third wave of coronavirus, with the outbreak worsening more rapidly than official figures show due to the under-reporting of cases by thousands last week.
Sunday saw seven more deaths related to Covid-19 recorded in the Republic and a record-breaking 4,962 additional cases.
It brings the total number of deaths linked to the virus in the State to 2,259 from 101,887 cases, according to figures from the Department of Health.
There are 744 patients in hospital with the virus, with 65 in intensive care units, as of 11am on Monday.
The positivity rate among people tested for Covid-19 during the last week is now at 17.6 per cent. The World Health Organisation recommends the rate should remain below 5 per cent for at least two weeks before public health measures are relaxed.
More than 101,000 tests were carried out in the State over the past seven days.
The 14-day incidence rate of the disease is 469.8 cases per 100,000 people.
Monaghan is the county with the highest infection rate at 1060.5 cases per 100,000. Wicklow has the lowest rate, at 195.2 cases.
The Mid Ulster council district is the worst hit area in the North, with an incidence rate of 1,148.1 cases per 100,000 people over the last 14 days.
The next highest rate is in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon area, with 1,011.5 cases per 100,000.
On Sunday another 1,662 people tested positive for Covid-19 in Northern Ireland and six more deaths were reported, according to the region's Department of Health.
The latest figures also show that 99 per cent of hospital beds in the North are occupied, with six hospitals operating beyond capacity: Antrim, Causeway, Mater, Royal Hospital, South West Acute Hospital and Ulster Hospital.
The Republic has gone from having the lowest infection rate in the European Union just two weeks ago to having the fastest rate of deterioration.
Leo Varadkar said further restrictions had not been ruled out in the light of the ongoing surge in cases.
Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week, the Tánaiste said there is a strong case to say that the current restrictions should be left in place until those most at risk have been vaccinated, even into February.
He said additional restrictions cannot be ruled out but current measures were only introduced on December 30th and must be given time to work.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “With Covid case numbers rising rapidly, it’s more important than ever that each and every one of us does what is being asked of us.
“Stay home and strictly limit social contacts.
“We must do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable and those on the frontline.”