INDIA HAS been added to Ireland’s mandatory quarantine list.
Passengers travelling into the country from the subcontinent will now be required to enter quarantine at a designated hotel.
The change will come into effect from 4am on May 4th.
It comes as India continues to record record-breaking numbers of new Covid-19 case cases with hospitals and medical staff overwhelmed with new patients.
Costa Rica, Georgia, Iran and Mongolia have also been added to the mandatory quarantine list.
The five nations have been hit with the quarantine restrictions following a Government meeting earlier this week.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said: "The Government continues to advise against all non-essential international travel at this time.
"Protecting public health remains the key priority of Government.
"The scenes we are witnessing in India are distressing and a devastating reminder to us all of the severe illness and death Covid-19 can cause.
"The Government will continue to act to protect the population from Variants of Concern and take decisions that reinforce Ireland’s biosecurity.”
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, San Marino, Monaco, Wallis and Futuna Islands and Moldova have meanwhile been removed from the list.
The announcement comes as Ireland’s gradual easing of Covid-19 restrictions continues with Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan declaring that now is the “right time” to begin lifting lockdown rules.
"We believed that now was the right time for us to move on," Dr Holohan said.
"It's ambitious in terms of scale of activities that we see being enabled for the whole population but we still think caution is necessary at the individual level and the population level," he added.
"Individuals who fall into the high risk groups and have not yet been vaccinated will continue to need to be very, very cautious in terms of their individual risks."
Despite this he has urged the public to exercise caution.
"We need to be open to possibility: if we see behaviours that are beyond what we advised and we see the emergence of non-compliance that leads to transmission that we didn't anticipate, then we may have to take action and advise that we might have to slow down," he said.
"It's kind of all in our collective hands and in our individual hands.
"The greater we can keep with the range of restrictions in spirit and in letter that has been introduced for May, and hold to that and no more, the greater the chance of us getting through May safely and being in a position to move on to the next set of measures in June."