Emergency Covid-19 legislation has cleared Ireland’s lower house of parliament without a vote.
It would give new powers of detention until November.
The Republic has taken strong measures on social distancing to try to curb rising numbers of those contracting the infection.
Health Minister Simon Harris said: “What we are actually doing is making sure we have the provision should the need arise in the public interest to save lives.”
We cannot stop this virus. We cannot wish it away. As our figures showed last night, it is a virus that does not discriminate based on age, gender, or location.— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) March 19, 2020
What we can do is help slow its spread #Covid19
Private tenants will not be evicted from their homes for at least three months.
A third death in Ireland was reported as the number of cases rose by 191 to 557.
On Thursday, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke on the phone.
An Irish Government statement said: “The main focus of the 20-minute discussion was the Covid-19 situation and the actions being taken by the two governments.
“They agreed on the need to keep in contact and align their actions, in so far as possible, on the matter.”
Mr Harris said he was acting on the best advice of the chief medical officer.
Under the draft new laws, the authorities can order people to stay indoors, close down non-essential businesses, cancel events and have the ability to impose targeted restrictions on specific areas of the country.
More than 58,000 people have applied for the Irish Government’s Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment payment as the crisis takes hold.
The Government estimates 140,000 workers have already been laid off over the past week while business representatives have warned another 200,000 people could be laid off over the coming days.