The Taoiseach has insisted that level five has worked, as the Government prepares to make a call on exiting lockdown.
The Cabinet will meet tomorrow and again on Thursday or Friday to consider NPHET advice on whether to ease level five restrictions next week.
Micheál Martin wouldn't be drawn this morning on whether certain sectors such as pubs and restaurants will be allowed to open in December.
However, the Taoiseach struck a positive tone about how the restrictions have worked so far.
The Taoiseach stressing this morning that Level 5 has worked and while he won’t get into any specific sector and whether they might re-open he does sound positive about exiting Level Five next week pic.twitter.com/FIHHW3Lkwm
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) November 23, 2020
He said: "Ireland is second best within the European Union in terms of the low number of cases - we need to get that into our head.
"Level three, restrictions on household [visits] and then level five did work and has worked. There's been a narrative around this that I don't think has been helpful or accurate."
Mr Martin said ministers will hold a series of meetings with NPHET this week to "work out the exit from level five" - saying it's still the target to do that at the end of the month.
However, he said the 'good news' is that people's hard work has been effective - with hospital numbers being managed, and schools staying open.
He said everyone now needs to keep following the public health advice, and the positive news about vaccines does not mean it's a moment to relax.
Restaurants and pubs
The Vintners Federation of Ireland wants all pubs to be allowed open from December 1st - including so-called 'wet pubs'.
Meanwhile, restaurateurs say they've been told that case numbers need to be at around 200 per day in order to reopen next week.
The average number of cases reported each day over the last five days is more than 300.
Adrian Cummins from the Restaurants Association of Ireland said they've been involved in intense discussions with Government over the last number of days, and "nothing is a given" currently.
He said: "The case numbers must go into the 200s to give us a real opportunity of reopening.
"We want to reopen and stay open for the rest of this pandemic, until the rollout of a vaccine is done for the general population.
"It's vital that we open for December 1st, because every day we lose puts huge financial pressure on an industry that's economically flattened at the moment."