THE PUBLIC are being urged to adhere to Ireland’s coronavirus guidelines this weekend after the Republic’s R number rose to one or slightly above one.
The R number refers to the average number of people someone with Covid-19 passes the coronavirus onto after contracting the illness.
A measure for how effectively a country is handling the pandemic, the aim is to keep the R number below one.
While the loosening of restrictions was expected to prompt a rise in the R number, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is urging caution ahead of a potentially busy Saturday.
It comes after several images and videos surfaced online last weekend of bustling crowds gathered outside pubs in Dublin.
"There is an immediate need for all of us to take care and caution in our decisions and actions," said Prof Philip Nolan from the NPHET.
"We are seeing an increase in the number of reported cases over the last two weeks and the R number is now at or above 1."
Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn was quick to note the all of new Covid-19 cases reported on Thursday were people under 44 years of age.
According to Dr Glynn, 77% of the new infections were also detected in people under 25 years of age.
He noted many cases were also linked to "groups having met up" and said that while this was "not unexpected" given the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, more care was required.
"If we try to go back to living and acting like we did last January, it is only a matter of time before we are facing a significant problem from this disease,” he said.
He added: "I want to reiterate that this is not about targeting a particular group or age group or any other group in the population - it's not about blame.
"It really is about protecting each other and it's about reiterating the point that we can all get on with the activities that we want to get on with, but we need to do so safely."