Measures that would allow people to be detained on foot of a medical recommendation if they have the Covid-19 coronavirus and refuse to self-isolate have been signed off on by the Cabinet.

The Cabinet held an incorporeal meeting this evening to sign off on emergency legislation and regulations dealing with the Covid-19 crisis.

It will be passed by the Dáil during a short sitting on Thursday afternoon.

The measures will also give the Government the legal power to shut down mass gatherings.

The regulations build on legislation introduced in 1948 to fight the spread of infectious diseases including tuberculosis, the major public health problem of the time. 

The legislation will give effect too to the special welfare payments for those who can't work as a result of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Ireland has yet to decide on whether or not to take part in the EU's travel ban, despite the majority of EU leaders tonight endorsing the plan.

A government spokesman tonight said: "Ireland will consider participation [in the EU travel ban] in the context of the Common Travel Area and in consultation with the UK".

Speaking following a two and a half hour video conference between EU leaders, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference: "We got a lot of approval from member states [for the travel ban]. None of them were negative on this proposal, but we know that at the moment, [that] the UK is not planning on implementing external border restrictions…, of course this goes for Ireland too because we have a common travel zone."

EU leaders endorsed a range of economic and logistical measures to try and stop the spread of the coronavirus, including the non-essential travel ban on those entering the wider Schengen area, as well as support for European companies producing medical equipment and aiming to produce a vaccine.

The Commission president stood by her claim that the German company CureVac could have a vaccine for the virus by the autumn.

"The fact that other countries tried to buy that company showed they're the front runner. They're working on a patent that has already been approved. It's their prediction they might be able, towards fall, to have a vaccine fighting coronavirus," she said.

Additional reporting Tony Connolly