COVID-19 case numbers are on the rise amongst the elderly in Ireland as fears grow that the virus could be starting to spread among the most vulnerable groups in the country once more.
Public health officials revealed on Wednesday that 70 people over the age of 75 have contracted the virus in the last two weeks.
The concerning revelation comes after over two months where the majority of people catching the infection were young.
"In the last week we have begun to see a delayed increase among older and vulnerable groups," said Prof. Philip Nolan, chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group.
"Everyone must be cautious in their interactions with these groups.
"Those aged under 45 have a one in 100 chance of being hospitalised with Covid-19, but if you are aged over 75, this rises to one in five," he stressed.
Prof. Nolan added that there were almost "no cases" in the older age brackets during the summer up to the start of August.
At the start of the pandemic, the virus spread swiftly among the elderly, particularly through nursing homes and through local community transmission.
The over-65 age group accounts for over 1,600 of the 1,777 deaths from coronavirus in Ireland.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) are meeting today to review the latest Covid-19 trends.
The expert group said the epidemic is growing very slowly in many counties across Ireland.
Three counties were placed into localised lockdown back in August; Kildare, Offaly and Laois, and it's been reported that as many as five others are being monitored closely, and are being considered for similar localised restrictions in the near future.