Ireland’s Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said the emergence of the new Covid-19 variant may prompt decisions on fresh restrictions in the country.
He also said the Government would be making a decision “imminently” on whether to impose travel restrictions in response to the emergence of the variant in southern Africa.
Mr Donohoe said Cabinet may need to meet on Friday to make a decision on travel issues.
Asked if hotel quarantine arrangements may be reintroduced in the country, Mr Donohoe told RTÉ Radio One: “If it is needed I believe it will be of a very different scope and scale to where we were the last time it was in place.”
He said he did anticipate Ireland would need to make changes in respect of quarantine but he expressed hope it would only cover a limited number of countries.
On the prospect of fresh restrictions in Ireland, Mr Donohoe said: “I think given what has happened with this variant, there certainly will be, as we move into next Tuesday (Cabinet meeting), the possibility of needing to take further decisions.”
He said he would not speculate on what decisions may be taken.
“When the Government makes decisions we need to be clear on what we are doing and communicate with clarity, which is what we do our best to do,” he said.
Mr Donohoe said while there was evidence of case numbers stabilising in Ireland, the high level of community transmission meant the country was not best placed to deal with the arrival of a new variant.