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Grounded Airlines told not to let passengers fly to Ireland unless they have booked hotel quarantine

Passengers arriving from the 16 countries added to the mandatory quarantine list, including France, Italy and the US, will be required to quarantine from tomorrow.

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The Defence Forces escort travellers to mandatory quarantine upon arrival at Dublin airport (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Defence Forces escort travellers to mandatory quarantine upon arrival at Dublin airport (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Defence Forces escort travellers to mandatory quarantine upon arrival at Dublin airport (Brian Lawless/PA)

AIRLINES will be asked to not allow passengers on flights to Ireland if they do not have bookings for quarantine hotels.

It comes as Health Minister Stephen Donnelly confirmed that bookings for designated hotels have been paused temporarily as the Government assesses whether it has the capacity to manage arrivals.

The online portal states there are no rooms available until next Monday.

Passengers arriving from the 16 countries added to the mandatory quarantine list, including France, Italy and the US, will be required to quarantine from tomorrow.

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A bus outside the Crowne Plaza hotel, Santry, near Dublin Airport, where travellers arriving from one of 33 high risk countries will stay during a mandatory 12-day quarantine. From today passengers arriving from high risk countries are required to pre-book accommodation in a designated quarantine facility and to pre-pay for their stay. Picture date: Friday March 26, 2021.

A bus outside the Crowne Plaza hotel, Santry, near Dublin Airport, where travellers arriving from one of 33 high risk countries will stay during a mandatory 12-day quarantine. From today passengers arriving from high risk countries are required to pre-book accommodation in a designated quarantine facility and to pre-pay for their stay. Picture date: Friday March 26, 2021.

A bus outside the Crowne Plaza hotel, Santry, near Dublin Airport, where travellers arriving from one of 33 high risk countries will stay during a mandatory 12-day quarantine. From today passengers arriving from high risk countries are required to pre-book accommodation in a designated quarantine facility and to pre-pay for their stay. Picture date: Friday March 26, 2021.

However, there will now be a pause on any bookings.

Mr Donnelly told RTÉ's Six One News: "On a precautionary basis the department has paused the bookings to make sure we have the capacity.

"There is still a high level of walk-ins, which shouldn't be happening.

"Some of the airlines, which are meant to not be allowing people on the planes are letting them on, so I know Minister [for Transport Eamon] Ryan is engaging with the carriers on that.

"There is significant additional capacity coming in on Monday, we're going up from about 650 rooms up to about 960.

"Then the following Monday again a lot more coming online, we will be above 1,300."

The booking portal only went live for the additional countries on Monday afternoon, despite cabinet agreeing the move last Friday.

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There has been a slight spike in bookings for quarantine hotels after the portal went live for the new countries added to the list.

The Department of Health confirmed there have been 477 rooms booked for April so far and 48 rooms for May.

On Monday just 420 rooms were booked for April and 30 for May.

Mr Donnelly previously said the gap between the addition of the countries to the list on Friday and the beginning of quarantine on Thursday was designed to give passengers time to book into designated hotels.

However, a number of passengers brought forward travel plans to avoid spending nearly €2,000 to stay in a quarantine hotel for 12 nights.

A Department of Health spokesperson said operational matters between Tifco Hotel Group and the Department of Health, and engagement with airline carriers, was carried out across the weekend in preparation for this.

Meanwhile, two further High Court challenges have been brought on behalf of people who are undergoing mandatory quarantining at Dublin hotels.

Proceedings have been brought on behalf of Ballyfermot woman Philomema Meredith, who has been in quarantine since April 10 last after returning from Dubai where she had been visiting an ill relative.

The second application has been brought by Donegal resident Charlene Heyns, who returned to Ireland from her native South Africa on April 9.

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