The Health Minister has said tougher restrictions on gatherings are likely to be introduced in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.
It comes after large groups of people were pictured visiting beaches and walking trails around the country yesterday.
Images share on social media suggested some of them were failing to observe social distancing guidelines.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Health Minister Simon Harris said some people are still not following the guidelines properly.
“Over the weekend, we did see on a number of occasions, people taking the advice that they could go out and take a walk and really taking it to a level that is not acceptable in terms of congregating in busy areas,” he said.
“Whether you are indoors or outdoors, the social distancing does apply.
“So that two metres that you need to keep between yourself and other people applies indoors and outdoors.”
Do you want to save lives? Do you want to support our frontline health staff? Do you want to keep your family safe? Do you want to get our country through the next few weeks and months? Then do this! Keep your distance. Stay away #coronavirus #Covid19 pic.twitter.com/kaseiA87Wx
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) March 22, 2020
He said the National Public Health Emergency Team will consider the effectiveness of the current guidelines tomorrow.
issue new guidelines tomorrow.
“It will advise Government on how they think the current restrictions are going; how effective they think they are but also what new restrictions may be necessary and what new guidelines.
“But really, we need people’s help here.
“The advice is crystal clear. If you are in your workplace, if you are at home, if you are in your community today; that two-metre distance we are trying to keep is about saving people’s lives.”
"In this together"
Pointing to the number of deaths reported in Italy over the weekend, he said: “We have got to take this seriously.”
“I know many people are but we really all have to help each other out in this because we truly are all in this together.
“What you decide to do will have a direct impact on my family.”
He said the government would publish the recommendations put forward by the NPHET and act on them immediately.
The minister also said there has been some encouraging news in terms of social distancing – with most people diagnosed with the virus now reporting fewer social contacts than they were in previous weeks.
“In other worlds the social distancing is having an impact,” he said.
“More and more when we find someone with COVID-19, we are finding out they have been on contact with fewer people.
“That is good news in terms of slowing the transmission and that is thanks to the massive efforts being undertaken by the Irish people and it is not easy.”
Over the weekend, it emerged that there are 40,000 people on waiting list for COVID-19 testing.
Minister Harris said the country will be importing 100,000 testing kits every week starting next week.
He said there are now 35 COVID-19 testing centres open around the country with 15 more on the way.
Meanwhile, there are now more than 10 labs analysing the test results.