Ireland may need local lockdowns if Covid cases continue to increase rapidly, according to the World Health Organisation.
The country's seven-day moving average is over 2,000 cases, compared to just over 1,100 three weeks ago.
There were 470 Covid patients in public hospitals last night, up from 291 a month ago.
Dr David Nabarro, the WHO's special envoy on Covid, says local restrictions could be needed if the trend continues - but not a national lockdown.
Dr Nabarro told Newstalk: "Well local bases is the approach I would like to see used. If there is a big spike in caseS, and a very heavy burden on the health services in a particular location, that's when some kind of localised movement restriction can be considered, and I don't see that as something to be worried about, I see that as the correct response to a surge in Covid cases."
Ireland's surge of Covid cases is likely to continue for several more weeks, Dr Nabarro added.
"I think that it will only slow the rate of increase if there is a conscious effort by people everywhere to contribute to reduced transmission, I don't know how much more transmission there's going to be because there is a very definite relationship to the extent which people mix and the extent to which cases increase."
While expressing concern about the rising rates of Covid, both Government and the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) have not suggested the return of any national restrictions.
However, speaking on Wednesday, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said the return of some restrictions could not be ruled out.