The Taoiseach says health officials are 'hugely concerned' as the so-called 'UK variant' which emerged in December now accounts for 90 per cent of Covid-19 cases.
It comes as the death toll from the virus exceeded 4,000 here yesterday, and more than 6,000 on the island of Ireland.
57 additional deaths were reported last night, along with 650 new cases.
This includes 53 new cases in Galway, which still has the 4th highest 14-rate rate of the virus nationally.
17 new cases were recorded in Mayo yesterday, with less than 5 in both Roscommon and Sligo and none in Leitrim.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn says that, while we've made great progress, the situation remains precarious.
There are 765 patients in public hospitals with the virus - including 43 at Mayo University Hospital, 32 at UHG, 10 at Sligo University Hospital and 3 at Portiuncla Hospital in Ballinasloe.