The Taoiseach says around half the population could be infected with Covid-19.
Speaking last night at a Department of Health briefing, Leo Varadkar said the HSE wants to avoid a spike that could overwhelm the health service.
54 new cases of coronavirus were also confirmed in the Republic bringing the total number to 223.
Two people have died from the illness.
Mr Varadkar said current increases cannot be stopped within the next few weeks.
"Half the population getting Covid-19 is accurate, that could certainly happen.
"For most people a very mild illness, for some a very serious one.
"The number of people who have Covid-19 will continue to rise every day, every week, for a couple of weeks. But the objective in a couple of weeks time is to flatten the curve then so that we don't have a single spike at the same time that would that would overwhelm the health service.
"But the total number of cases will be very, very high."
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The Taoiseach said the economic impact of Covid-19 on the country will be “severe”.
Mr Varadkar said: “Unfortunately a lot of people are going to lose their jobs and businesses will have to close.”
“The economy is going to slow down dramatically but we are confident that it will bounce back.”
“Our first priority is to help people who have lost their jobs to get the social protection they need.”
He added that unemployment will rise here due to Covid-19 with up to 140,000 people estimated be out of work due to the pubs, bars and creches closing.
Tens of thousands of people will be laid off and we will see unemployment rising again to a level we haven’t seen in 13 or 14 years.
“I want to say to those people who have lost their jobs, support is there for you – whether you’re unemployed or self-employed,” he said.
Mr Varadkar said the Government will work hard to ensure measures will be taken so that people who have lost their jobs can pay their mortgages and rent.