The Taoiseach has warned that the major easing of restrictions planned for next week cannot be guaranteed.
It comes after senior Government officials were warned that COVID is on the rise again with the R number now trending above one.
The meeting this afternoon was reportedly told that there has been a sudden change in COVID figures in the past week – with cases, hospital admissions and ICU admissions all on the rise.
This evening a further 2,066 COVID cases were announced – the highest daily figure in three weeks.
The 408 coronavirus patients in Irish hospitals is up 19% on this day last week; however the 69 patients in intensive care is down one on last week.
Speaking to reporters this evening, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the situation is concerning – a warned that a final decision on reopening will not be made until next week.
“Presentations were made to officials and I received a briefing on that this afternoon in respect of the growth of the seven-day incidence and in terms of the pattern of disease affecting all age groups now at this stage,” he said.
“That is a matter of concern. That is what I am saying right now and therefore we have to feed that into whatever decisions we make early next week.”
Speaking in the Dáil earlier, Mr Martin said people need to keep protecting themselves.
“Over the course of the last seven days the rate of infection, the number of hospital admissions and the rate of ICU admissions have all increased.
“The pandemic has not gone away and it requires all of us to continue to be careful.”
A number of Government ministers have today said the plan is to press ahead with the full reopening on October 22nd; however, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has yet to offer its advice to Government.
Speaking today, the Arts Minister Catherine Martin said there are currently no plans to change the reopening schedule.
“If you do look at the ICU numbers and hospitalisations, obviously there is a concern there,” she said.
“It is my understanding NPHET will meet next week and Government will meet on foot of that meeting but as it stands we are heading for the full reopening on October 22nd.”
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he “can't rule out" some COVID-19 restrictions remaining beyond October 22nd.
He said the final decision will depend on the numbers over the next few days, as well as NPHET's advice next week.
On Lunchtime Live this afternoon, Aslan star Billy McGuinness said it was "absolutely disgraceful" for the Tánaiste to "frighten" musicians with his comments