Schools to remain closed, though Leaving Cert students will come in three days per week
Further safety restrictions have been announced, with non-essential construction stopping at 6pm on Friday.
Leaving Cert students will be asked to come into school three days a week, while schools will remain closed otherwise.
Cabinet has officially agreed that schools will be mostly closed from next Monday, while the situation will be reviewed again at the end of January.
As well as Leaving Cert students, special education will also remain open, with protections in place.
Minister for Education Norma Foley said that the measures introduced aim to "support society", and to reduce contacts.
Foley also said that it is "entirely at the discretion of the schools" how they wish to implement this three-day week.
It was also announced on Wednesday that non-essential construction will be stopping at 6pm on Friday (8 January).
Essential construction projects that will be exempt include health projects specific to Covid-19 and housing adaptation grants.
Announcing the news, Micheál Martin said that Ireland is now "under siege" from Covid, and that the current wave is definitely worse than the first or second.
"We simply have to flatten the curve once again.
"Unless you are involved in absolutely essential work, you simply must stay at home."
He continued: "We may now be entering the most challenging phase of all. When even a small minority ignore the guidelines, the impact can be high."
Speaking at the press briefing, Leo Varadkar confirmed that the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) scheme will remain in place until the end of March.
This announcement comes as Covid figures continue to rise across the country.
Further information on the new Level 5 restrictions can be seen here.