By Dominic McGrath, PA
A further 4,181 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the Republic, as the chief medical officer said the country still had time to reverse the trajectory of the disease.
Dr Tony Holohan called on people to follow the public health advice and asked anyone eligible for a booster to take it.
Ireland is currently going through a fourth wave of the pandemic, prompting fears about the capacity of the health system to cope.
According to the latest figures, there are 668 patients in hospitals with the disease, with 125 in intensive care.
“We can change the trajectory of this disease,” Dr Holohan said in a statement.
“Small changes, by all of us, will make a big difference collectively.
“Together we can break the chains of transmission and bring down disease incidence. By doing so we can have a real impact on the number of people who end up seriously ill and in hospital in mid-December.”
He warned that the situation was having a dangerous impact on non-Covid care in the health system.
“The current level of Covid-19 in Ireland is having a negative impact on the health of the people of Ireland and placing an enormous burden on our entire health system, from public health to general practice to our acute hospitals,” he said.
“We are all, understandably, very tired of this pandemic.
“Time and again we have asked the Irish people to take on board public health messaging and act for the collective good. And time and again the vast majority have listened to that message and responded.”
Dr Holohan asked people to ensure that they are using antigen testing correctly.
“If you have symptoms of Covid-19 you should isolate and book a PCR test online or contact your GP. You should not take an antigen test.
“Unfortunately, our data suggests that the majority of people who are using antigen tests at present are symptomatic and that of those, the majority who get a ‘negative’ result are incorrectly assuming that this means they no longer have to self-isolate or get a PCR test – potentially placing many others at risk of Covid-19.”
“You should only consider using an antigen test if you have no symptoms of the disease and only as a further additional tool.”
He also urged people to “try to meet up with other people outdoors”.
On Saturday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin acknowledged that Ireland was going through a “difficult” phase of the pandemic.
Recent days have seen health officials and medics call on people to reduce the number of people they see, to contain the spread of the virus.