Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he cannot guarantee that the planned date of October 22nd to lift remaining Covid restrictions will go ahead.
He spoke after a meeting of senior officials on Wednesday morning, during which the deputy chief medical officer Ronan Glynn made a “serious” presentation.
“The trajectory of the diseases has taken a wrong turn,” Mr Martin said. “There has been what was described as a sudden increase in the last week of case numbers. I think we’re looking at over 2,000 case numbers today.
“They want to see more data, they want to analyse this a bit more, so we are going to reflect on it, and we will engage with the public health authorities and the HSE over the coming days.
“We will make a final decision closer to that date (October 22nd), but suffice to say that it’s very, very important that the public at large realise that Covid has not gone away. The Delta variant is a dangerous one, numbers are higher in hospitals than we would like (them) to be, there are over 400. They’re having an impact on the hospital system.
“Those out there who haven’t got the vaccine, I would urge people to get the vaccine, because it does protect you from serious illness and hospitalisation and death. People should go back to the basics. This is an alert to all of us to knuckle down and refocus on this virus because it hasn’t gone away.”
Micheal Martin urged everyone to get vaccinated.
“We have a fully vaccination rate of over 92 per cent, but some people actually only got one dose in some cases, they should go off and get the second dose,” the Taoiseach said.
“Those who have not been vaccinated at all should consider getting vaccinated and should get vaccinated.
“We are looking at the booster issue at the moment, in terms of the over-80s and the immune-compromised.
“The vaccination transforms the situation, it’s not like it was last year.
“The economy is doing well, and recovery has been faster than we would have thought. The economic recovery and the jobs recovery has been faster than we thought. We have to keep it in perspective.”