The Department of Health has said that NPHET's Epidemiological Team is meeting regularly this weekend to monitor the Omicron variant situation in Europe, and is "currently considering further required measures".

In a statement this evening, the Department said that while it has been "formally notified by European Alert Systems", it was aware of media reports of Omicron cases present in the UK, Italy, Germany, and Belgium.

It said a series of mitigating measures, outlined by the Government yesterday, have been put in place to mitigate against the arrival of the variant in Ireland.

Meanwhile, the Government will have to wait until it knows what risks are posed by the new variant before it considers whether new restrictions should be introduced, the Green Party leader has said.

Speaking at his party's annual conference in Dublin, Eamon Ryan said the Government had to continue to follow the public health advice and keep doing what it is doing.

"A lot of the lessons learnt in the last two years will continue to apply," he said.

He said these included wearing facemasks on public transport and social distancing.

"It's not a complete reboot or a complete change. It's just learning from what we've done well."

There have been 4,791 new cases of Covid-19 reported by the Department of Health today.

The number of people with Covid-19 being treated in hospitals around the country has fallen by 35.

There were 536 patients with Covid in hospitals at 8am this morning - down from 571 at the same time yesterday morning. There have been 65 discharges in the last 24 hours.

121 of these patients are receiving treatment in intensive care units, an increase of three from yesterday morning.

1,482 cases of Covid-19 have been reported by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, while two patients who had previously tested positive for Covid-19 have died.

Meanwhile walk-in booster Covid-19 vaccination clinics are in operation in several counties, for healthcare workers and people aged 60-69, the HSE has said.

It was announced yesterday that booster vaccines will be offered to everyone aged 16 and over, following new recommendations from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC).

NIAC have recommended a booster dose of an mRNA vaccine - Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna - firstly for pregnant women aged 16 and over; then for people aged 40-49, followed by those aged 16-39 in descending order.

According to the Chief Medical Officer, Ireland's Covid-19 situation remains "vulnerable" to a further deterioration.

Yesterday Dr Tony Holohan said that factors - including levels of social contact "over the festive period" - will determine the number of cases over the next few weeks and months.