Garda checkpoints are in place across Donegal as the county enters Level Three coronavirus restrictions.
Donegal now has the highest rate of COVID-19 in the country and residents are being urged not to leave the county for the next three weeks.
The decision, announced on Thursday, will see restaurants, pubs and cafes close – except for delivery, takeaway and outdoor dining.
Dr Ronan Glynn on how each of us can live safely with this virus over the coming months. Do not underestimate the value of your individual actions. Please stick with this and together we will get through #COVID19 #StaySafe [for subtitles/closed captions, select "cc"]. pic.twitter.com/HdO92ycHBa
— Department of Health (@roinnslainte) September 25, 2020
In a video on Twitter, Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said more counties could yet be moved to Level Three.
“While there is every chance that other areas in the country will have to move to Level Three, there is nothing inevitable about that,” he said.
“We have seen previously in Limerick and Tipperary and possibly over the past few days in Waterford, how people working together can take control and turn the tide on this virus.”
There were 326 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the Republic yesterday, with no further deaths announced.
152 of the new cases were in Dublin with 32 in Cork, 22 in Donegal, 21 in Galway, 15 in Meath and 11 in Kildare.
According to the most recent figures form the HPSC, there were 148.2 new cases per 100,000 in Donegal in the past two weeks.
Dublin has the second-highest rate at 144.5, with Louth sitting on 107.8.
Yesterday, the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly told Newstalk that no other counties were likely to join Dublin and Donegal at Level Three ‘Imminently’
Lat night, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin said there are particular concerns about the rising levels of the virus in urban areas.
“In places like Cork city it has been going up in a straight line in the last two weeks,” he said.
“That is a worry. Between 20 and 30 cases a day. That is worrying and likewise in other city areas.
“We are flagging that; we are making it very clear to people that those are worries right now.
“However, they are coming from a low base and there is an opportunity to stabilise it. It is in our hands basically.”
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation is warning that two million COVID-19 patients could die before a vaccine is ready.
Dr Mike Ryan, head of the body’s emergencies programme, warned that, without concerted action, the number could climb even higher.
The death toll currently stands at around one million and Dr Ryan said countries have to continuing fighting the virus on several fronts to prevent the death toll doubling in the coming months.
“Not just test and trace, not just clinical care, not just social distancing, not just hygiene, not just masks, not just vaccines – do it all,” he said.
“Unless we do it all, the numbers you speak about are not only imaginable but unfortunately and sadly, very likely.”