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Room for more US, France, Germany and Italy recommended for Ireland’s new mandatory hotel quarantine list

The new list includes 43 countries which have variants of concern or where Covid-19 cases greater than 500 per 100,000.

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Crowne Plaza Hotel Dublin, one of the quarantine hotels in use

Crowne Plaza Hotel Dublin, one of the quarantine hotels in use

Crowne Plaza Hotel Dublin, one of the quarantine hotels in use

THE United States and EU countries, including France, Germany and Italy, are on the latest list of high-risk countries recommended for mandatory hotel quarantine of travellers arriving here. 

The additions are expected to be highly politically sensitive and cause diplomatic tensions with some key countries. A decision will be taken later in the week.

The new list includes 43 countries which have variants of concern or where Covid-19 cases greater than 500 per 100,000.

The UK is not on the list.

Mandatory quarantine is currently required for people travelling to Ireland from 33 countries. That list is now set to double in size.

The mandatory hotel quarantine system has been hugely controversial due to delays in getting it started.

When it started last weekend, three passengers left a mandatory hotel quarantine facility in Dublin, sparking a Garda search. One of those people has not returned to the hotel and is thought to have gone to Northern Ireland. It is a criminal offence to not go into or stay in quarantine, with penalties of up to €2,000 fines or a month in prison.

The Travel Expert Advisory Group in charge to updating the list of designated countries for quarantine has now recommended another 43 countries be added to the list.

The countries on the list will be kept under review on an ongoing basis, with countries added and taken away.

The Department of Health is now consulting with the Department of Foreign Affairs about the list. Irish embassies across the world will have to advise the countries concerned and line up travel advice. The Department of Health wrote to the Department of Foreign Affairs last night to notify it of the latest recommendations.

The expansion of the quarantine list is expected to strain relations with key countries and also raise concerns with the IDA and business groups as it will hamper travel by executives and essential workers. However, the recommendation in writing leaves little room for manoeuvre.

The Government will be mindful to assure these countries the list is temporary and countries can be removed when the situation improves.

Austria is currently the only European country or EU member state on the list of 33 countries from where passengers must complete a mandatory 14-day period of quarantine. But the continent is currently battling a third wave of the virus.

The first four hotels for use as mandatory quarantine centre are the Crowne Plaza Dublin Airport in Santry, the Holiday Inn Express Dublin Airport, Clontarf Castle Hotel and the Hard Rock Hotel Dublin City Centre. The cost is €1,876 per adult.

There are very limited exemptions to mandatory quarantine on health grounds.

Passengers must complete a Covid-19 passenger locator form and provide evidence that they have had a negative Covid-19 test carried out 72 hours before they arrived into Ireland. Their mandatory quarantine could be cut short if their Covid-19 test comes back negative on day 10 of their stay.

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Independent.ie


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