Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said it is impossible to say if there could be a lockdown in the future.
He was speaking after the Government announced a series of new measures in a bid to curb a rise in Covid-19 cases.
Mr Donnelly said that although a lockdown cannot be ruled out, it is “not where we are” currently.
However, he said, the National Public Health Emergency Team could make such a recommendation in the future and is carefully monitoring the situation.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, the minister said that stark new modelling shows that if the country does not make changes there could be between 200 and 450 people in ICUs by Christmas week.
Under the measures announced yesterday, household close contacts who are fully vaccinated and showing no symptoms should restrict their movements; closing times for all licensed premises will move to midnight from tomorrow and everyone should revert to working from home unless it is necessary to attend the workplace in person.
Mr Donnelly said the new measures line up with advice given by Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan and are all designed to reduce social contacts quickly.
He said Covid case numbers should begin to change by week three of the new restrictions.