Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said that the coronavirus figures for Dublin are beginning to stabilise and that the same needs to happen elsewhere in the country.
Speaking on RTÉ radio this afternoon, he said: "Dublin as of last night was at 140 per 100,000 for the last 14 days, in the last seven days that figure was down to 73.
"Essentially what that means is Dublin looks like it's beginning to stabilise, that's what we want to see around the rest of the country as well."
The Minister also said there was a need to ensure more qualifying nurses stay in the country and that the HSE needs to become less reliant on nurses coming into the country to work.
However, he said that this "cannot be achieved in a short time frame," but that the HSE's newly published 'Winter Plan' would be one of the ways to accelerate that situation.
In the meantime, Mr Donnelly said the HSE will be contracting private providers to deal with public cases in a bid to reduce waiting lists.
He said: “The initial forecasting I've seen is that even with this Winter plan, the number of people waiting for elective care could go up, but this Winter plan is 15 times larger than last year.”
Mr Donnelly went on to defend the country’s testing and tracing system saying it was "one of the best in the world," but he acknowledged the need to make it “better and better”, but it was something on which the country should be proud.
Mr Donnelly also said that the health service’s diagnostic suites were not working 24/7 , but that to get it to full capacity would require extra staff.
On the issue of his own health following a negative Covid-19 test, Mr Donnelly said he was feeling a lot better and planned to be back in his office next Monday morning.
“This is just the world we live in, I have been working from home, doing full days, I would like nothing more to have been at the launch of the Winter Plan,” he added.