Leo Varadkar says people must follow health advice "whether we’re at Level 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 26"
"It is not for people in any part of Ireland to take any comfort from the fact that the rules are stricter in these three counties."
Leo Varadkar has warned that the people of Ireland need to follow public health advice "whether we’re at Level 1,2,3,4, 5 or 26".
Varadkar's comments come as Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan prepare to go into Level 4, with Varadkar describing it as a "bitter blow" for people living in those counties, but one that is necessary.
The Tánaiste said that people would be wrong to think that this is just some sort of problem "up north", or that this is only an issue for the border counties.
He said: "This virus is circulating in the community, in every county in Ireland and we need to see it that way and understand that that’s the case, and make sure that we comply with public health advice and change our behaviours in every part of Ireland, in all 32 counties.
"We need to embrace that public advice, because whether we're at Level 1,2,3,4, 5 or 26, if people aren't doing what they need to do, it's not going to work.
"It's making sure that if we feel unwell that we stay at home, stay away from other people, including other people in our own household, ring our GP, seek a test and if we're told to restrict our movements or to self-isolate, to do exactly that.
"It's those behaviours that will get this virus under control because that's what got this virus under control back in the spring when we all worked together as a nation to do so."
Varadkar was speaking in response to Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty, who urged the government to increase the weekly Covid Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) €350, following recent cuts made to the payment.
Varadkar responded by saying that the payment was originally only supposed to last for 12 weeks, but was adjusted as it may have to last into next year.
Earlier in the day, Simon Harris said that a move to Level 4 across the country is likely, but "not inevitable".