Health officials are warning that the local lockdowns in Kildare, Laois and Offaly could be extended to other areas.
New Covid-19 restrictions were put in place in the three midland counties as 289 cases emerged there over the past two weeks.
According to the Irish Times, a letter to Government from acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn warned the restrictions could become more widespread in the future.
The letter said the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) “emphasised that the measures being put in place today could apply to any other region in the future”.
It said that although admissions to hospitals and critical care, as well as levels of deaths, were not currently showing worrying trends, there may be a delay before changes to these indicators become clear.
Yesterday, Dr Glynn said there was no guarantee the restrictions would be lifted in two weeks’ time and that their purpose was to take action before significant community transmission was seen.
Residents of the three midland counties must now stay within their own county for two weeks, except for essential reasons such as work or medical appointments.
Many businesses have been ordered to close amid rising case numbers in the counties – many in meat processing plants and direct provision centres.
Mobile testing was used to diagnose many of the cases in the area due to a lack of more permanent facilities in the counties.
Medical charity Safety Net operates one of these services and charity head Fiona O’Reilly says mobile testing could be a game changer if rolled out nationally: “Going forward I think, you know you can’t stop fires for example, so we have fire brigades.
“Similarly we have to get used to living with a degree of the coronavirus in our society, but we have to be able to respond very quickly to clusters.”