There are renewed calls for an all-island approach to the coronavirus outbreak this morning.
It comes after five further patients died and 248 new cases were confirmed yesterday evening.
Some 104 of the cases were in Dublin with 37 in Donegal and 36 in Cork.
Last week, Donegal moved ahead of Dublin to become the county with the highest 14-day rate of the virus in the country, with 148.2 cases for every 100,000 people.
Just over the border meanwhile, Derry City and Strabane has the highest seven-day rate of the virus in the North at 195.8 per 100,000.
The North as a whole reported 319 yesterday – the highest daily figure since the outbreak began.
DCU Professor Anthony Staines told Newstalk that authorities North and south must work together to bring down the level of infection.
“There is no difference between the problems facing us on either side of the border,” he said.
“The two Governments have a long tradition of cooperating on healthcare. It is a challenge for all sorts of reasons, not least Brexit but I think the willingness in the North is there to take serious drastic actions against heir rate of infections and in the South.
“If we work together, we are more effective.”
He said gatherings in the home remain the biggest cause of transmission around the country.
“We know what is happening,” he said.
“There is a lovely description from a GP in Donegal who traces the outbreak in his own area to a couple of social events that occurred in people’s houses.
“These events are really, really high risk. It is characteristic of this disease. You get a large number of people together and you can get 30, 40 cases, 100 cases from a single event and we can’t afford to go on doing that.”
There are concerns a number of new counties may soon join Dublin and Donegal on Level Three restrictions, with the National Public Health Emergency Team closely monitoring the situation in Cork, Galway, Wicklow, Kildare and Louth.
Professor Staines said urban areas are of particular concern.
“It is rising uncomfortably high and I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Cork was next and Galway was next,” he said.
“It will depend on contact tracing but I wonder how many of these cases were associated with students coming back to UCC. A lot of students would have come back to cork to get read y for the first semester which starts on Monday.”
The Government on Friday asked all third-level institutions to begin the semester online – with limited access to campuses for at least three weeks.
The decision has caused anger among students – many of whom have already paid up front for accommodation close to college for the new school year.