Ireland could see up to 1,300 new coronavirus cases per day by the end of the month if nothing changes and the spread is allowed to continue, a public health expert has warned.
Professor Philip Nolan said the epidemic has been growing "exponentially" at about 4% per day since late June, and he urged people to reduce their social contacts.
The chairman of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) said daily average case numbers grew from 12 on July 1 to 40 on August 1, to 131 on September 1 and then by Friday they had reached 430.
He tweeted: "We should not ignore or dismiss the rising numbers of SARS-CoV-2 infections.
"We monitor hospitalisations, intensive care admissions, and with great sadness deaths, and we know where these numbers will go if we do not suppress transmission of the virus."
He said restrictions put in place in Kildare, Laois and Offaly worked, and those in Dublin and Donegal may be starting to work, but the virus is spreading at a near-constant rate throughout the rest of the country.
He added: "We have, collectively, had too many social contacts. The virus is transmitting, and cases and hospitalisations growing.
"If nothing changes, and cases and hospitalisations grow as they have been for the last few weeks, we could see 1200-1300 cases per day and 400 people in hospital by the end of October.
"This is not meant to scare people. It's asking us to be honest with ourselves. And it's not inevitable. On the contrary, if we redouble our efforts to minimise our social contacts, keep our distance when with others, and stay home if feeling unwell, we can beat this."
His warning comes after the Government accepted recommendations from NPHET to introduce tighter restrictions on household visits in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.
The public health team advised that a maximum of six people from a single household are allowed to go to another house, in all parts of the country and not just Dublin and Donegal.
The capital and Donegal are currently subject to level three restrictions under the Government's Covid-19 five-tier response plan, with the rest of the country at level two.
Under the current public health guidelines, people living in counties under level two restrictions are allowed to have six visitors from three different households.
A total of 470 additional cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Ireland on Friday.
One more person died with the virus.