IRELAND is now in serious danger of a fourth wave of Covid-19, according to a top health official.
Professor Martin Cormican, the HSE's lead for infection control, says the nation's case numbers are "stuck" and are possibly on the rise.
Sunday saw 769 new cases of coronavirus confirmed by the Department of Health, the highest daily increase in nearly a month.
There were also two further deaths from the virus.
"[Cases] are pretty much stuck, possibly going back upwards a bit. There's a real danger of another surge," said Prof Cormican.
"We certainly all hoped to be in a better place than we are. We need to deal with the reality of where we are and we need to be very careful.
"That's really hard because what's got us through so far is that people have put up with a great deal of isolation and loneliness and burdened it as necessary to control the virus.
"Unfortunately it is still necessary because the new strain does seem to spread faster than the one we were used to. And that makes everything harder and makes it harder for everyone.
"The vast majority of people are trying really hard to adhere to the restrictions as much of the time as they possibly can.
"There are some people who are less careful and I suppose we continue to appeal to them and to explain to them the risks that they're taking is not just a risk for them, the risk they're taking is a risk for everyone they know and care about in the two weeks after they take that risk."
Meanwhile, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has urged the country to "stick with" stringent lockdown to avoid a deadly fourth wave of Covid-19.
He said that we all need to "stay vigilant" and hinted that very little, if anything, will change on April 5, despite that being initially earmarked as the date when Ireland begins to ease restrictions.
"You're efforts have borne fruit... it's extremely important that we keep with this, " he told RTÉ News at One.
"I'm saying that between now and the 5th of April, we will come forward with a plan."