Travellers from another 13 countries must now undergo a mandatory 14-day period of self-quarantine upon arrival in Ireland, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly announced this evening.
The countries – all in south and central America – are deemed to be at high-risk of Covid-19 infection.
They include: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The move comes as the Government is poised to bring in mandatory quarantine in a designated facility for anyone entering the country.
But in the meantime, Mr Donnelly is urging everyone to avoid all non-essential travel due to the risk of Covid-19 infection, especially from highly transmissible new variants of the virus.
“The Government continues to advise against all non-essential international travel at this time and a range of measures is in place to reinforce this policy. If you travel to Ireland from any of the high-risk countries, you must complete a full 14-day quarantine period," he said.
“This applies to all passengers from designated states, regardless of nationality and the aim of this measure is to protect the population from challenges posed by new variants of concern.”
“I brought legislation to the Dáil this week to bring in mandatory quarantine in a designated facility. Once the bill has passed through all stages in the Oireachtas, it will be referred to the President for his consideration. Subject to the bill becoming law, it is the Government’s intention to commence the operation of mandatory quarantine facilities as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, he said a National Oversight Group for Variants of Concern (VOCS) has been established to monitor and advise public health officials over the challenges posed by the new variants.
The new list of so-called ‘red list countries’ joins the previous list, including: Angola, Austria, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Republic of South Africa, Rwanda, Seychelles, Suriname, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Zambia and Zimbabwe.