It is likely to be mandatory from next Monday to wear masks in shops and other indoor venues. This rule and other restrictions related to Covid-19 are up for discussion by the Government this afternoon.

Already, bus and train passengers have to cover their faces and anyone who breaks this law can be fined up to € 2,500 or sentenced to six months in prison.

The Government will also discuss whether all pubs should reopen on Monday as planned.

Dublin City University health expert Professor Anthony Staines said the recent rise in coronavirus cases in this country was a cause for concern.

The number of new cases yesterday – 32 cases – was the same as when restrictions were first imposed, he said.

However, the people of the countryside will be most affected if the pubs do not open on Monday, said Patrick Cribben of the Irish Federation of Pubs.

Speaking to RTÉ, he said that many of the pubs that are not yet open are small family – owned and most are in rural areas.

These places are not crowded and the young people, he said, have no interest in going into them.

Concerns have been expressed about the rise in the number of young people who have contracted the coronary virus in recent weeks.