Stephen Donnelly has revealed that the Cabinet are to meet to review current Level 5 restrictions amid rising Covid numbers.
He said: "The latest letter I got was from Dr Holohan yesterday, so essentially NPHET is of the view and is reiterating the view that we need to move to, I guess what you would call, ‘full’ Level 5.
"The reason Cabinet is meeting tomorrow is to look at the measures that are in place and to consider restrictions in light of the increasing case numbers and hospitalizations."
He added, "Essentially if you look around Level 5 versus before, retail is one of the big differences, gyms, leisure centres etc., home visits, the amount that can be allowed in terms of visits to the home, there are various ones like that in terms of where we are now compared to what would be a ‘full’ Level 5."
This means that shops, gyms, leisure centres, golf and tennis may all close from tomorrow.
The Government Press Secretary confirmed the special Cabinet meeting but didn't comment on any speculation around additional restrictions to those already announced.
Last week, An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said there could be 2,000 cases of Covid-19 reported daily by New Year's Eve.
When asked how long he expects current restrictions to last, Varadkar answered:
"It's difficult to speculate about the timeline, but I think it'll probably be towards the end of February or early March before a critical mass of the population is vaccinated."
Today saw the first person in Ireland receive the Covid vaccination. 79-year-old Annie Lynch from The Liberties in Dublin received the vaccine at St James's Hospital.
The government's plan is to vaccinate 20,000 people a week from early January. This is set to increase to 40,000 as doses become more available.
CEO of the HSE Paul Reid said, "We are dealing with an elderly population, we want to do this right, we want to build confidence and we want to ensure a very strong take-up of the vaccine."