NPHET has made another recommendation to move the entire country to level five restrictions.
Public health officials have said the lockdown should last for six weeks.
Public health officials made it clear a number of weeks ago they feel a level five lockdown is needed – and the situation has only deteriorated since then.
The latest recommendation came on a day that saw a record high number of cases at 1,205.
It’s not expected there will be any immediate decision from the government on what to do.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin is in Brussels for the EU Summit and won’t be back until late tonight.
Government sources indicated they would take the weekend to consider the situation, the impact of level five and whether in light of a further worsening of the situation that it’s warranted.
That would indicate a cabinet decision on the issue on either Monday or Tuesday.
A number of Ministers also want to get out of the cycle of having new announcements every few days which they admit is very draining for people.
They also want to give level three restrictions a further chance to work – given it’s been less than two weeks since they were implemented.
However, the NPHET recommendation will put further political pressure on an escalation of restrictions.
New restrictions on household visits came into effect across Carlow and Kilkenny as well as most of the country today.
The border counties – Cavan, Monaghan & Donegal – moved to Level 4.
And Northern Ireland is going into a four-week lockdown from midnight tonight (Friday).