The Taoiseach says people's efforts in tackling COVID-19 are "really having an impact".
The number of patients with the virus in hospital has today dropped below 500 for the first time in 2021.
A total of 497 people are in hospital with the virus, with 116 of those in ICU.
It comes as latest data shows nearly 295,000 people had received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Saturday.
Micheál Martin is now urging people to stay the course.
He said: "The work of the people is having an impact - that's the main point.
"People's behaviour is impacting on the number of people in hospitals.
"The impact of vaccination is beginning to be seen in a reduction of hospital-based infections and in nursing home based outbreaks... that's very good news."
He said he understands it's "very, very tough" for people, but people's actions are having a positive impact in moving the country forward in the fight against COVID-19.
Mr Martin said the situation here is in a "constant process of evaluation" because of the now dominant B117 variant.
However, he added: "Parallel to that is the rollout out of a vaccine, which I think is having an impact - that's what the clinicians are saying to us - in terms of reducing outbreaks and infection rates."
It comes after NPHET yesterday said the country is 'continuing to make progress' despite the high daily case numbers.