Popular holiday destinations including Cyprus and Malta have been dropped from the Government's Green List for travel following a spike in cases of Covid-19.
The move by ministers last night means that holidaymakers and any other people traveling to Ireland from Malta, Cyprus, Gibraltar, San Marino and Monaco now face having to restrict their movements for 14 days after all five countries were dropped from the Green List.
However, the Department of Foreign Affairs' travel advice on its website, DFA.ie, had not been not updated as of last night. A Government spokeswoman said changes to the advice on the DFA website would not happen until today - but said the advice was in effect immediately.
Finland, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Greece and Greenland remain on the list. This means people travelling to Ireland from these countries do not have to restrict their movements for two weeks.
However, the Government's overarching advice to the public is to avoid non-essential foreign travel and to holiday at home.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said last night: "There are no additions to the list, and we continue to advise people that the safest thing they can do in terms of their own health and the health of the country is to stay in Ireland."
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly told a press conference at Dublin Castle that all but one of the countries on the original list published two weeks ago had recorded significant increases in the prevalence of the Covid-19 virus. "Fourteen of the 15 countries on Ireland's Green List have seen significant increases in just the last two weeks since the list was created," he said.
Despite this, the Government removed only five countries and neither spokespersons for Mr Donnelly, nor Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney, could comment on the rationale for this.
The Government spokeswoman said: "If a location's progress in suppressing the disease worsens - such as the status is no longer similar to Ireland - the location's travel advice will be changed.
"A number of factors are taken into account, such as the number of new cases over the past 14 days per 100,000 inhabitants and the overall response to Covid-19."
Ireland's incidence of Covid-19 over the last 14 days is 7.54 per 100,000 - up from 2.46 in the 14 days up to June 30.
Figures from the European Centre for Disease Control showed that, as of yesterday, Malta had an incidence rate of 27 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the previous 14 days.
Cyprus was at 13 new cases per 100,000, Gibraltar was at 24 new cases per 100,000, and Monaco was at 36 per 100,000.
However, there have been no new cases in San Marino in recent days. The Government spokeswoman could not explain why San Marino had been removed from the list.
Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall said she was surprised there were no measures contained in the Government's announcement to address the fact that 90pc of people travelling into Ireland were from non-Green List countries.