The World Health Organisation has classified the new covid strain from Southern Africa as a 'variant of concern'.
It says this strain which has been named 'Omicron' has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning.
It says preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other variants of concern.
It says the number of cases of this mutation appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa.
Meanwhile, the Health Minister says the Government will legislate to reintroduce mandatory hotel quarantine if needed to deal with the new Omicron variant.
Stephen Donnelly says travellers from seven south African countries where the variant has been identified will require 10 day mandatory home quarantine when coming to Ireland.
He also confirmed the Government is monitoring the situation in Hong Kong, Belgium and Israel where cases of Omicron have been confirmed