A Cabinet meeting will be held today to discuss moving the country to a full Level 5 lockdown after 1,546 Covid-19 cases were recorded yesterday, the highest-ever daily figure in the Republic of Ireland.
This surpassed the figure of 1,296 which was recorded on St Stephen's Day.
Today's meeting was organised following a surge in cases while the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital is at the highest level it has been since May and GPs have warned of a 65 per cent increase in referrals for Covid tests.
This could see the Government implement a full Level 5 lockdown which would see all but essential retail close and tighter restrictions on house visits.
Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath has said that we are living in tumultuous times and that the Government will have to respond to the situation of growing Covid numbers.
“We are at a very serious juncture,” he told RTÉ's Morning Ireland show.
Today we reported the highest number of daily cases (1,546) since the start of this pandemic.— Dr Ronan Glynn (@ronan_glynn) December 29, 2020
Tonight, there are more people in hospital with #COVID19 (411) than at any point since last May and admissions are rising very quickly.
A Cork GP has warned of the increase in community referral for Covid-19 testing following the festive season.
Dr Nuala O’Connor said that nationally, there has been a 65% increase in GP referrals for a Covid-19 test between last weekend and this week.
Speaking to The Echo, she said there has been a “massive increase in referrals” since the beginning of December.
In the week of December 5, there were 25,181 GP referrals recorded and the previous week saw similar figures.
An increase in GP referrals was recorded in the week of December 12, with 27,423 referrals made and in the week ending December 19, there 42,081 GP referrals made.
In the fourth week of December, up to and including St Stephen’s Day, there were almost 70,000 GP referrals with a total of 69,536 referrals recorded.