IRELAND is now experiencing its third wave of coronavirus, according to health experts.
On Tuesday, the Taoiseach announced that the country would effectively be going back into lockdown after Christmas following a recent surge in virus case number.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said he was "gravely concerned" with the deteriorated situation across the country, stressing that the virus was spreading "faster than at any point since March".
While there's no firm evidence that the new strain of Covid which has hit the UK, is in fact in Ireland, due to "very worrying" spike in cases recently, Taoiseach Micheál Martin insisted this afternoon that it was "safest" to act as if it had.
Ireland is "clearly now in a third wave," said Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group.
"The virus is transmitting very rapidly, faster than we have seen at any point since March," Prof Nolan added.
"The case numbers are growing at least 5-7% per day and, of particular concern, across all age groups."
Dr Holohan expressed similar concern with the latest statistics.
"The situation has deteriorated rapidly in recent days. A total of 3,837 cases have been notified in the past seven days," he said.
"The five-day rolling average has increased from 339 on December 17 to 616 on December 21, an 82% increase.