The head of the Health Service Executive (HSE) has said one in every 10 coronavirus tests being carried out in the community is returning a positive result.
Paul Reid says that is 'alarming levels,' with 23,000 tests being carried out per day.
While close contacts are averaging at five people, with tracing calls gone from less than 10,000 to now over 30,000 per week.
On Twitter, Mr Reid also appealed to people to 'review' their New Year plans to make sure they keep safe.
Testing & tracing volumes now at alarming levels. Our highest daily tests now at 23,000. Community positivity reaching 10%. Close contacts averaging at 5 people. Tracing calls gone from less than 10K to now over 3OK per week. Please review New Year Plans to keep safe. @HSELive
— Paul Reid (@paulreiddublin) December 27, 2020
He was speaking as other parts of Europe began their vaccination programme against the pandemic on Sunday.
However Ireland will not begin vaccinations until December 30th, despite the first doses arriving here on St Stephen's Day.
Speaking earlier to On The Record, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar admitted that Ireland is starting the roll-out at a slower pace.
He said: "I think we'll probably start a little bit slower, but catch up".
"We're part of the European system, we get 1.11% of the vaccine - and that's in proportion with our population - and I think we probably will start a little bit slower than other countries, but we will catch up".
"I don't see it as a race, I think it's important that we do it right".
He also said more vaccines are due to be approved shortly, which will add to capacity.