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Aggressive strategy Labour demands mandatory hotel quarantines for people arriving into Ireland

We feel in order for 2021 not to be the same as 2020, we need to do this to suppress the virus"

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The arrivals hall at Dublin Airport

The arrivals hall at Dublin Airport

The arrivals hall at Dublin Airport

Labour leader Alan Kelly has said the country has no choice but to impose a mandatory hotel quarantine for everyone arriving into Ireland who isn't an essential worker. 

It is part of a zero Covid approach that Labour is proposing under their National Aggressive Suppression Strategy.

While acknowledging that getting down to zero Covid is “borderline impossible” Deputy Kelly said the country can get case numbers down to low double digits and keep them low.

“People are really concerned and worried about 2021,” he told Newstalk Breakfast. “We feel in order for 2021 not to be the same as 2020, we need to do this to suppress the virus.

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Labour Party leader Alan Kelly has called for an 'aggressive strategy'. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly has called for an 'aggressive strategy'. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly has called for an 'aggressive strategy'. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

"Then hopefully later on the year we’ll be able to open up more, and have resourced public health teams to act Panzer-like where there’s virus outbreaks.

“Because of the volume of border crossings, we do need to ensure that [for] people who are travelling in or out of the North in the Republic... we do everything we can to find out why they’re doing so.”

He added that new fines for non-essential border crossings need to be “more comprehensive” as it was “ridiculous” that people going on holidays can still continue on with their journey to the airport after being fined.

“As regards quarantining people coming into the country, we’re very clearly saying anyone who isn’t an essential or logistics worker needs to be quarantined in a hotel,” he added. "All that infrastructure and legislation should have been put in place prior to this."

Figures released last week show there was barely any change to Dublin Airport passenger numbers despite new fines as people determined to get away simply paid the fines and then carried on their journey.

Deputy Kelly said that if mandatory quarantine was in place for everyone, not just those arriving from certain countries, then the number of people travelling would decrease.

He also suggested a different plan is needed to test essential workers on arrival, so they don't face the same quarantine regime.

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