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The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dublin, currently used for mandatory quarantine for new arrivals (file photo) Leon Farrell/
Travel advisory group

Health officials to discuss possibility of adding India to hotel quarantine list

The country is experiencing a surge in Covid-19 infections.

HEALTH OFFICIALS WILL meet to discuss the addition of India to the list of countries from which incoming travellers must complete two weeks of hotel quarantine.

The government’s Expert Advisory Group on Travel will decide today on the status of India, which has seen Covid-19 cases and deaths spiral in recent weeks.

It comes a day after the country was added to the UK’s “red list” in response to mounting concern about case numbers and the emergence there of a new Covid-19 variant.

From Friday, those travelling from India to Britain will be forced to quarantine in a hotel for ten days.

Asked on Monday whether the country would be added to Ireland’s hotel quarantine list, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said the possibility could be looked at.

India’s new Covid outbreak set records yesterday, when more than 2,000 deaths were recorded in 24 hours as hospitals in New Delhi ran low on oxygen supplies.

The country’s second wave of infections has been blamed on lax government rules and its new variant – known as B1617 -  with 3.5 million new cases reported this month alone.

Data showed 295,000 new cases were reported in India in 24 hours up to yesterday, among the world’s biggest daily case totals and similar to numbers seen in the United States during its deadly surge in January.

In an address to the nation on Tuesday night, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the country of 1.3 billion people was “once again fighting a big fight”.

“The situation was under control till a few weeks back, and then this second corona wave came like a storm,” he said.

A briefing of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) heard on Monday that three cases of the Covid-19 variant first detected in India have been reported here.

At least two of them are associated with travel, according to Dr Cillian De Gascun, Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory and Chair of the NPHET Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group.

However, De Gascun said that describing the Indian variant as having a ‘double mutation’ “isn’t really helpful or accurate in the context of what we’re looking at”.

“At this stage it’s important we remain vigilant… but we still need more information and more evidence before it becomes a variant of concern,” he added.

- Contains reporting by © AFP 2021.

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