Eamon Ryan has said he doesn't think further restrictions will be needed during the current Omicron wave of COVID-19.
The Green Party leader was speaking ahead of a meeting of NPHET meeting tomorrow.
Health officials have been asked by the Government to consider easing the current rules for vaccinated close contacts of confirmed cases.
It comes as the country continues to face significant numbers of new cases, with the five-day moving average now a record 19,750.
Hospital numbers have also been rising, with 928 patients with COVID-19 currently in Irish hospitals.
Despite those numbers, Minister Ryan said he doesn't expect NPHET will be recommending any other restrictions this week.
He said: “The case numbers are huge, but the critical numbers are the number in critical care - that’s held relatively steady.
“The numbers being so large, there will still be a lot of hospital beds taken up. But I don’t expect further restrictions this week, and hopefully - if the modelling is correct - we should be close to the peak.
"If the numbers come down, we will be able to cope.”
The Green Party leader says they can “never say never” when it comes to potential restrictions, but he does believe the measures already in place - such as an 8 pm curfew for indoor events and the hospitality sector - are working.
He also believes restrictions will be eased quicker compared to last year, noting: “Everything we know is that this is a very large wave, but it won’t be as long.”
Close contact rules
The Public Expenditure Minister, meanwhile, says he hopes NPHET will allow the isolation rules for vaccinated close contacts to be relaxed.
They currently have to stay at home for at least five days, even if they've had a booster and don't have COVID-19 symptoms.
The isolation period is even longer for unvaccinated people, who have to restrict their movements for ten days.
Many businesses and services have faced staff shortages as a result of the current rules, with calls for the guidance to be eased to reduce the pressure.
Minister Michael McGrath says simplified advice would help.
He admitted the current rules for close contacts are "quite complex", given different rules apply depending on individual circumstances.
He said “hopefully NPHET will examine this issue and come forward with recommendations”, but stressed they’re not certain yet that there’ll be any imminent change.
That was reiterated by Eamon Ryan, who said any change to close contact rules is likely to happen next week rather than this week.
Cabinet has today agreed to ease travel rules, meaning vaccinated people will no longer need to have a negative COVID test result to enter the country.
Ministers also yesterday confirmed that tomorrow's planned reopening of schools will go ahead as planned.