The Government has added 13 additional states to its list of "high risk" countries in the pandemic.

They are: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

This brings to 33 the number of states on Ireland's Category 2 list. 

Regulations state that all arrivals, regardless of nationality, are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. 

Eighteen states were added to the list on 12 February.

They were: Angola, Austria, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Eswatini, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Brazil and South Africa have been on the list since 5 February.

A National Oversight Group for Variants of Concern (VOCS) has also been established to monitor and advise on variants of concern.

The group will report to the Chief Medical Officer about the variants of concern, who will in turn report to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

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Yesterday, it was concerned that one case of the variant B1525 had been identified in Ireland.

Health officials said the variant, which was first identified in the UK and Nigeria last December, was concerning because it possesses the E484K amino acid change, which has been associated with reduced response to neutralising antibodies.

It also possesses a deletion in the spike protein, which has been associated with increased transmissibility.