Italy's prime minister has declared the entire country a 'red zone', with restrictions on people's movements.
Giuseppe Conte announced yesterday that the tough new measures to combat coronavirus would come into effect this morning.
He said people should not move other than for work and emergencies.
More than 460 people have died from Covid-19 in Italy.
Three more cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the Republic, bringing the total here to 24.
Two of the cases are in the south, and one in the west.
All are females who were in close contact with a confirmed case, and one of those in the south is also a healthcare worker.
Last night the government announced a €3 billion fund to help deal with the virus, and St Patrick's Day parades across the country have been cancelled.
The Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil leaders will meet again this morning to discuss policy issues.
It comes amid speculation government formation talks may start sooner than expected because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin met for more than an hour last night to discuss policy face to face after their teams held talks last week.
Two men in their 20s are being questioned over a cocaine seizure worth €1.5 million yesterday.
The drug was found concealed in the back of an Irish-registered vehicle as it disembarked from a ferry at Rosslare Harbour.
The search of the vehicle was carried out as a result of routine profiling.
Ireland's women's prisons have been an average of 25% above capacity over the past month.
The female section of Limerick jail was 39% above its limit, and the Dóchas Centre in Dublin was 12% over capacity.
The Irish Prison Service says it has to accept all prisoners who are sentenced to a term of imprisonment.