The Cabinet Committee on Covid-19 will meet on Monday evening to discuss the actions that should be taken to help curve the current surge in Covid cases.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin has said the infection rate currently seen in Ireland is ‘extremely’ concerning and asked people to reduce their social contacts.
The cabinet is expected to agree that people should continue to work from home and will look for the number of people currently working from home to increase.
The committee consists of the three Coalition leaders and the Ministers for Health, Finance and Public Expenditure, and other ministers.
The cabinet will make a recommendation on what actions need to be taken to stop the most recent wave of Covid.
Other actions such as a wider use of antigen testing and an expansion of the booster campaign will also be discussed at Monday’s meeting.
The Taoiseach said: “The Minister for Health will be bringing forward proposals in respect of a wider deployment of antigen testing and also making it that bit more affordable for people if we want to introduce a culture of greater utilisation by people of antigen tests.”
However, health officials have warned people not to use negative antigen tests as a green light to continue socialising and asked anyone who has symptoms of Covid to book a PCR test.
The cabinet will also discuss the use of Digital Covid Certs in other settings such as gyms. However, health officials are said to be unsure if this would have an impact on infection rates.
It comes after NPHET recommended a number of Covid-19 measures, with Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan urging the Government to extend the use of vaccine certs, get people to work from home and tell people to wear masks at outdoor sporting events.
Dr Holohan has also recommended that people who go to a pub or nightclub or engage in other high-risk activities should use antigen tests twice a week.
The CMO also reiterated that the reintroduction of restrictions can not be ruled out in the future but such a move was not being considered at that time.
The Department of Health reported a further 3,805 Covid cases on Sunday, with 592 people now hospitalised, 106 of whom are in ICU.
HSE chief executive Paul Reid said hospitals were in a ‘very grim’ situation and are suffering ‘severe distress’.
Speaking to RTE radio’s This Week, Mr Reid said: “We have a high level of sickness and pressure on our emergency departments, we are seeing about 20 per cent up on our 2019 levels of many of our emergency departments.”
Mr Reid said hospitals are now facing similar conditions to those they faced last January.
He said stress levels in hospitals are just as bad as last year, despite the high vaccination levels, as hospitals are no longer only dealing with Covid patients.
Mr Reid said people need to ‘retract’ from the level of activity.
He said: “The reality of what we really need now is for everybody individually, all of us, to get back to the basics of public health measu