Ireland is to introduce a 14-day quarantine in hotels for all people arriving from Brazil and South Africa, and for anyone arriving without evidence of a negative Covid-19 test, the government said on Tuesday.
Visa-free travel from both countries and from all of South America has been suspended until 5 March, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said.
Ministers signed off on the measures, which are aimed at stopping more transmissible variants entering Ireland, while extending a national lockdown until 5 March. The quarantine period - 14 days - was announced later at a news conference.
Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Monday that any easing of restrictions, when they eventually come, will be very slow.
Ireland reported three cases of the South African variant earlier this month, which health officials said had been contained. No cases of the Brazilian variant have been discovered.
The government has said it will take a few weeks to put the system in place. Under previously announced measures, anyone flying into Ireland must show they have had a negative/not detected Covid-19 test from the previous 72 hours.