THERE IS significant concern that Ireland's coronavirus figures are moving steadily upward, undoing the work that had been achieved in the six-week lockdown.
Ireland had boasted the lowest incidence rate in the European Union, with cases dropping steadily as other countries faced a deadly second wave.
However this trend appears to be reversing, and Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, last night issued a stark warning to the public as he announced the deaths of six further people and the identification of 431 new cases.
"We are seeing significant and concerning indicators that this disease in moving in the wrong direction, including an increase in positivity rates, and 7-day and 14-day incidence, and our 5 day average has now increased to 339 cases," he said.
He reminded the public that "Recent international experience has demonstrated just how quickly this disease can get out of control"-- such as Germany, which has gone into an emergency Christmas lockdown, and the UK, where over 61% of citizens are now under the tightest restrictions.
"These trends are all the more troubling because of the delicate and precarious situation we are in," Dr Holohan continued.
"As a country, we are heading into a period of potential widespread inter-household and inter-generational mixing. This is an ideal opportunity for the virus to spread and impact on those most vulnerable to its severest effects.
"Don’t give COVID-19 this chance: limit your contacts, prioritise who you meet, and let’s remain vigilant so we can get through this together."
He confirmed that the National Public Health Emergency Team would continue to meet to discuss the epidemiological situation.
Ireland's 14-day incidence rate had dropped to as low as 80, but a rise in case in recent days has brought it back up to 87.9.
There has now been a total of 77,197 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, and 2,140 people have lost their lives to the virus.