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'If it has to be widened or extended, we'll do it': Cabinet signs off on quarantine for arrivals from 20 countries

Cabinet signed off on the measures last night.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

THE CABINET HAS signed off on strict new mandatory quarantine measures for all arrivals from 20 countries.

The quarantine measures will apply for arrivals from Brazil, the UAE, Austria and 17 African countries.

It also applies for passengers who arrive into Ireland with no negative PCR test with them.

Persons arriving will have to stay at designated hotels for up to 14 days. Flouting of these rules is expected to met with a heavy fine.

Breaching mandatory quaratnine will result in a €4,000 fine or one month in prison for the first offence. The second offence will result in a fine of €4,500 and /or one month in prison, and in the case of the third offence it’s €5,000 and /or six months in prison.

Legislation is expected to be brought before the Dail and the Seanad next week, before it comes into effect in March.

Opposition TDs have said the legislation is “full of holes” as it only applies to certain countries when there are different Covid-19 variants present in other countries.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said that the government was following advice from the ECDC and chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan in its proposals.

“The CMO has designated 20 countries,” Ryan said. “If that has to be widened or extended, then we will do it.”

Health Stephen Donnelly previously told the Cabinet that a high level implementation group will work out the operational details, such as how to deal with instances of non-compliance, when people arrive into Ireland without having arranged their quarantine in advance.

It is understood that the group will also be tasked with establishing options for a system to handle advanced reservation, with a focus on private providers – the preference is thought to be for an outfit that can provide transportation as well as hotel accommodation.

It has long been mooted that private security companies will be tasked with looking after the facilities, however, Cabinet was also told on Tuesday that they would have no enforcement powers in detailing someone should the decide to leave the hotel.

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In that case, gardaí would be called to attend for breaches in the Covid-19 regulations, the the AGSI has said they have yet to be informed of how operationally it will work.

It is expected that the hotels will provide full board in en suite rooms, with laundry and cleaning services also provided. 

Persons staying in the facility will have to take Covid tests during their stay. 

Despite the measure being announced a number of weeks ago, the legislation to underpin the mandatory isolation of people in hotels has only been finalised in recent days.

With reporting from Christina Finn

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Sean Murray

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