The Health Minister says the Government will legislate to reintroduce Mandatory Hotel Quarantine if needed to deal with the new Omicron variant.
Stephen Donnelly says travellers from seven south African countries will require 10 day mandatory home quarantine when coming to Ireland, while the situation in Hong Kong, Belgium and Israel is being monitored.
Minister Donnelly says they're taking a precautionary approach in line with the EU.
"Several things are happening straight away: the travel advice for the seven listed countries are to not travel, except for exceptional circumstances.
"The message to residents who are in those countries is to come home as quickly as possible, and to partake what will be mandatory home quarantine and pre-flight PCR.
"And there is a suite of public health measures being put together".
Ireland is to apply an 'emergency brake' EU system to several countries in response to the new variant.
This includes South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
The Government says travel from these countries "poses a risk". However it says Ireland currently has no direct flights from any of these countries.
Irish residents returning home from these countries will be required to undergo "strict home quarantine" - regardless of any vaccine/recovery/test status - and also undergo PCR testing during quarantine.
The first case in Europe was also confirmed earlier in Belgium.