Measures have been put in place to mitigate against the arrival of the Omicron Covid-19 variant in Ireland, including mandatory home quarantine regardless of vaccine status.
In a statement, the Department of Health said it is aware of media reports of cases of the variant in the UK, Italy, Germany and Belgium.
Visa requirements have been updated and the advisory to avoid non-essential travel has been applied to those countries concerned, including Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Returning Irish residents will be required to undergo strict home quarantine regardless of vaccine/recovery/test status, and undergo PCR testing during quarantine.
Regulations are being drawn up to implement the new travel and home quarantine policies.
The Department of Transport is working with carriers to ensure that all relevant pre-departure requirements, including Covid certificates, PCR test evidence and passenger locator forms are rigorously complied with.
Mandatory hotel quarantine options are being examined on a contingency basis.
The department said the situation regarding the new variant will be kept under continuous review by all relevant bodies.
The National Public Health Emergency Team has been meeting over the weekend to consider further measures.
Was due to be on a flight just now to Austin, Texas to see our lovely grandaughter for the second time in 2 years...but events as they say. Feeling reflective, but all in perspective to the major sacrifices of so many. There will be better days ahead. @HSELive pic.twitter.com/FYOoilTjzO— Paul Reid (@paulreiddublin) November 27, 2021
Health Service Executive chief Paul Reid tweeted earlier that he had cancelled a planned trip to Texas to see his grandchild due to the situation,
“Feeling reflective, but all in perspective to the major sacrifices of so many. There will be better days ahead,” he said.
Earlier, a further 4,791 cases of Covid-19 were reported in Ireland.
At 8am, there were 536 Covid-positive patients in hospital, of whom 118 were in intensive care.