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big vote Dáil passes bill to bring in temporary mandatory hotel quarantine for travellers from high-risk countries


Health Minister Stephen Donnelly

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly

A bill that paves the way for the return of mandatory hotel quarantine passed all stages in the Dáil late on Thursday night.

The Health Amendment Bill will now go before the Seanad.

Speaking before the vote late on Thursday night, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly told the Dáil he strongly believes there is a need to have a system of hotel quarantine "ready to go" in order to respond to the Omicron variant of Covid-19 which has now been detected in Ireland.

He said Ireland "will be in a better position to act quickly" once legislation is in place to bring in a return to mandatory hotel quarantine if necessary.

He described the bill as "a fair and proportionate response," to the growing threat of the new variant, adding he expects more cases of Omicron will emerge here.

The bill allows for temporary mandatory quarantine for people coming into the State from areas deemed to be at high risk of transmission of Covid-19 or any variant.

It can also be used to quarantine people coming into Ireland who fail to comply with requirements for Covid-19 testing.

“Unfortunately, the threat of the emergence of variants of disease has not gone away,” Mr Donnelly said in introducing the bill.

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