Donegal is to move to level 3 of the Government's COVID-19 plan at midnight on Friday, with restrictions remaining in place for the next three weeks.
The Government confirmed the move on Thursday following a recommendation by NPHET. Making the announcement, the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, said that the decision was based on "very worrying data".
He said that over the last seven days, Donegal's seven-day incidence rate of infection "is more than anywhere else in the country and clusters are growing". Meanwhile, just over two weeks ago, the county's 14-day incidence rate was around 20 per 100,000. It is now at just over 122 per 100,000 - a six-fold increase.
Of the 324 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed on Thursday, 42 were in Donegal and 34 were in Cork. However Donegal has a population of just over 159,000 compared to Cork's population of over 540,000.
The highest number of cases - 167 - occurred in Dublin, which is already at level 3 of the COVID plan.
As part of the restrictions in Donegal, residents are being asked not to travel outside of the county unless essential, and to only have a maximum of six people from one other household in their home.
While the number of people who can attend a wedding reduces to 25 in level 3, this has been delayed until Monday, so that weekend weddings can go ahead with 50 people.
So-called wet pubs, which only reopened this week, can remain open in Donegal, but only to serve a maximum of 15 people who are outdoors.
The rest of the restrictions for Donegal can be viewed here.
Meanwhile, the acting chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, has warned that public health doctors are coming across more cases arising from people who are close contacts of confirmed cases, but who are not restricting their movements.
"Remember that COVID-19 is highly contagious and you can be infectious without symptoms. If you are a close contact of a confirmed case please follow the guidelines here and restrict your movements for 14 days - do not go to school or work, do not have visitors to your home, do not go to the shop or pharmacy unless it is absolutely necessary," he said.
He also urged people to avail of a test if it is offered.
"Last week, one in 10 close contacts who had a test were found to be positive, many of them had no symptoms," he added.
For more information on the restrictions in place in your county, click here.
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