There is a "strong likelihood" the number of new Covid-19 infections could double in the next few days, according to the head of the HSE.
A record 1,718 new cases were detected yesterday as the government announced a new month-long lockdown which will see all non-essential retail stores close later today.
491 people with the disease are in Irish hospitals this morning - a figure which has almost doubled in the past week.
HSE CEO Paul Reid admits that sharp rise is "extremely concerning".
He has said that some covid-19 test centres are now reporting positivity rates of between 25 and 50 per cent.
It's led to Mr Reid appealing to people to reconsider any New Year's Eve plans.
He's said "The growth level that it's at means we all need to retract from any plans that we had, any New Year's Eve plans in particualr, that we had.
"When you're out you're at risk, it's as simple as that.
"When you're mixing you're at higher risk, if you're mixing with people outside of your home you're at extreme risk."