People have been urged not to gather over the coming days amid concern over the "static" nature of the daily Covid case numbers.

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn said that the public health advice to stay at home remains in place.

Dr Glynn said they do not want people to be congregating over takeaway pints or buying cans and meeting up.

He said he knows that is not what people want to hear, but he said the message has to be consistent.

"The reason we're giving this message is not because we want to be killjoys. We're giving the message because we know what will happen if people do meet up. And some of those people will end up in hospital and some of those people will die, and none of us wants that to happen."

His warning comes amid suggestions that demonstrations are being planned for Dublin city centre on St Patrick's Day. 

Dr Glynn said that while people are entitled to hold public protests, now was not the time to either attend or to organise such gatherings. 

Speaking at this evening's Covid briefing at the Department of Health, Dr Glynn said people should not be meeting up over the next few days. 

However, he said that if they are they should not meet inside and should not congregate with many other households. 

Dr Glynn said gatherings will lead to outbreaks and this will result in people ending up in hospital.

He said that unfortunately some people will need critical care and some will die.

While acknowledging that people were tired of hearing the same public health advice, he pleaded with the public to stick with the measures that are in place, as he said the level of disease "is still too high".  

"I would ask people to hold off on demonstrations and gatherings, please, until we get through this phase," he said.

The Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group said the situation the country is in now is very similar to the situation immediately after Halloween.  

Prof Philip Nolan said what is happening this week relates to mixing and social interactions that happened 10-14 days ago. 

He said, if over the coming fortnight "that we've collectively heard the message to pull back from that level of social interaction" we would see case numbers decline again.

Dr Ray Walley, a member of the National Covid-19 GP Liaison Committee told this evening’s briefing of an elderly patient of his who attended the funerals of her two brothers, two weeks apart.

As a result she contracted Covid, along with her children and grandchildren.

"She ended up seriously sick in a general hospital and many of her family ended up similarly," he said.

"I asked her what was the lesson she learnt from it and she said she should not have gone to either of her brothers' funerals. And these were congregations where you would have some degree of control. Whatever the reasons, congregations should not be happening." 

Dr Walley said he knows it is very difficult not to go to a funeral, but the guidance is there. 

He said he was aware of patients who have died as a result of going to a funeral.

He urged people to refocus on getting the basis public health measures right. Wearing face coverings and washing your hands was still the advice, he said. 

Dr Walley also told the briefing of one case where an entire family ended up getting Covid after visiting a loved who was dying from Covid in hospital.