'We are in a very uncertain and unstable position due to the high incidence of Covid-19 in Ireland driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant'
As of 8am today, 511 patients were hospitalised, of which 110 were in intensive care units.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said: "We are in a very uncertain and unstable position due to the high incidence of Covid-19 in Ireland driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant.
"This is a matter of very significant concern as we wait for more evidence relating to the Omicron variant and the impact it may have to emerge.
"At the moment, based on the evidence available to us, we believe that the public health measures we are so familiar with will work to slow and stop the transmission of the Omicron variant, as well as the Delta variant.
"Early indications suggest that a booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine will offer good protection against infection from Delta and Omicron.
"If you are eligible for a booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine, then please take the opportunity to receive your vaccine as soon as it is available to you.
“Similarly, if you are yet to receive a primary dose of Covid-19 vaccine then please come forward as soon as possible. You can get more information on where you can receive your vaccine, as well as trusted public health information on www.hse.ie, or by contacting your GP or local pharmacy.
"We are all aware that this day two weeks is Christmas Eve, a time of year when we all look forward to coming together with friends and family.
"You can take measures today and in the next few days that will ensure the safest possible interaction with your loved ones over Christmas.
"Risk assess the environments you plan to be in over the next two weeks - consider if they offer the opportunity to protect yourself with each layer of the public health advice and if you can: avoid crowds and reduce your contacts, wear a mask including in crowded outdoor environments; keep your distance if you feel unsafe feel empowered to leave; open windows and avoid poorly ventilated indoor spaces and clean your hands regularly."