IRELAND recorded its highest amount of daily Covid-19 cases since January over the weekend as "uncertainty" over the country's pandemic response looms.
On Sunday, a total of 1,837 new cases of coronavirus were identified, while 208 were confirmed to be hospitalised due to the virus - 31 of which are in intensive care.
Following a sharp rise in Delta variant cases in June and July, daily case numbers shot up dramatically but appeared to plateau around the 1,300-,1,500 mark.
However, over the last few days, numbers seem to be on the rise again.
"There remains significant uncertainty in terms of the underlying trends, including the potential effect of the recent August bank holiday weekend on case numbers and referral patterns," warned deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn.
"With over 18,000 cases in the last fortnight, Ireland's 14-day incidence rate has now increased to 386 per 100,000 population, the highest it has been since the start of February.
"Although the link between cases and severe disease has been very substantially weakened through vaccination, it has not been completely broken and, unfortunately, due to the high incidence, we continue to see an increasing number of people in hospital.
"We are experiencing a high level of disease and the outlook over the coming days is uncertain.
"What is not uncertain, however, is that we can alter the course of this disease through the simple measures that we are all so familiar with."
It comes as the head of the Health Service Executive (HSE) Paul Reid said the country is at a "key juncture" on the way out of the pandemic.
"With 77% of adults fully vaccinated, rising cases still pose a real threat," he said.
"Two types of walk-in centres play a key role this weekend, ie to receive a first vaccination or a Covid test. Please avail as appropriate."