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Sam Boal

Passengers arriving to Ireland will be checked to ensure they are self-isolating under new measures

People will have to fill out a form of where they are staying.

PEOPLE ARRIVING TO Ireland during the Covid-19 crisis will have to give an address of where they are staying which will be checked up on by authorities, under new measures due to be announced.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Health Minister Simon Harris said when a person arrives at the airport they will be required to fill out a form saying where he or she intends to stay for the period of their stay.

Currently people are asked to self isolate, but that is not checked, said the minister.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has made a number of recommendations to the Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19, he added.

“I expect to be able to announce them shortly. We have to consult with a few more key stakeholders,” he said.

“We need to put that mechanism in place. While there is not a significant volume of people coming into the country now, we must be sure that we are not in a position where we are all following best practice here and people coming in from abroad are following a different one.

“I expect an announcement on the further tightening of restrictions at the airports, and more than just taking somebody at his or her word that he or she is following the isolation restrictions,” he said.

Currently, if someone comes to Ireland from overseas, whether you are an Irish citizen or not, they are expected to self-restrict their movements for 14 days.

Harris’ comments come after the Taoiseach admitted that “it is not monitored enough”.

“I think we need to do more on that, particularly as we reopen the country, and as we reopen foreign travel, we’re going to need to have these mechanisms in place to make sure that there are controls,” said the Taoiseach.

Varadkar said these new mechanisms will be put in place to monitor people who enter the country before wider foreign travel resumes in the coming months. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Prime Time programme, Varadkar said:

“As far as I’m concerned it should only happen if necessary, and must happen with restrictions to make sure that there are health checks, to make sure self-isolation is observed for 14 days, and we need to put in place a belt and braces approach.

We have the belt at the moment, we need the braces too, to make sure that is more tightly monitored.

“Even though the numbers going through airports have been very small, down 99% in terms of passenger travel in the past few weeks, even though we have had people coming through, we have had very few, if any, imported cases in the past few weeks, we just want to make sure there aren’t any now.”

He also insisted that Irish ports and airports must remain open to bring essential supplies into the country, including medical and food supplies. 

Earlier today, Varadkar faced questions from opposition leaders today on the lack of transparency around decision-making during the Covid-19 crisis. 

Labour leader Alan Kelly questioned the make-up of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), how members were appointed and who ultimately makes decisions.

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