Almost 1 in 4 close contacts are testing positive for Covid-19 since testing resumed at the end of last month, according to the Taoiseach.
Micheal Martin told his party last night it compares to a positivity rate of 11 per cent previously and demonstrates the impact of the UK variant.
He also indicated to members, the country is to remain in a "prolonged" period of restrictions to get numbers to a very low level.
A further 1,006 new Covid-19 cases were announced last night, along with 54 deaths.
Meanwhile, 990 patients are in public hospitals with the virus, the first time it has been below 1,000 in more than a month - while 167 are in ICU.
Consultant in Infectious Diseases at St James' Hospital in Dublin, Cliona Ní Cheallaigh says the variant is having a big impact on cases and hospital numbers: