Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said Ireland has passed the peak of a summer wave of Covid-19 infections as hospital numbers have started to fall once again.
Tweeting on Tuesday afternoon, the Fine Gael leader said the reduction in the number of people in hospital with the virus was "encouraging".
The latest data from the HSE showed there were 815 confirmed cases of Covid in hospital on Tuesday, a reduction of 88 since Monday.
Of the total figure, 35 Covid-positive patients were receiving treatment in Intensive Care Units (ICUs).
"Encouraging to see Covid hospital numbers falling," Mr Varadkar said.
"The peak of the summer wave has passed thankfully without any need for restrictions.
"Hospital have been very busy. Preparing now for the winter wave," he added.
Encouraging to see #covid hospital numbers falling. The peak of the summer wave has passed thankfully without any need for restrictions. Hospitals have been very busy. Preparing now for the winter wave. pic.twitter.com/enccfTIzYz
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) July 19, 2022
In a follow-up tweet, the Tánaiste added that a winter wave is "likely to be more serious" and coincide with flu season, which also puts a strain on hospital services.
In anticipation of a further surge in Covid cases later this year, Mr Varadkar warned that "vaccines, ventilation, surveillance, capacity, good public health measures" will all be vital in the months ahead.