The Department of Health has said three cases of the Brazillian Covid-19 variant have been confirmed in Ireland for the first time.
All the cases of the variant are directly related to recent travel from Brazil, the department said in a statement last night.
This specific variant of Covid-19 was first discovered in Brazil and could spread more easily and possibly increase the risk of re-infection.
Speaking at the NPHET media briefing last night, Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn appealed to anyone who has recently travelled from Brazil to phone any GP to arrange a free test.
He further reminded travelers from Brazil that they are required by law to quarantine for 14 days.
He said: "This P1 variant has previously been identified in a small number of European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. While there is currently no microbiological or epidemiological evidence of any change in transmissibility of P1, this is plausible.
"Further studies are required to determine whether this variant is likely to have an impact on vaccine effectiveness or infection severity."
The P1 variant first emerged in the Amazon city of Manaus in northern Brazil in early December where a rapid new surge of Covid-19 infections took place.