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State spent almost €25 million on mandatory hotel quarantine, new figures show

Approximately €9.5 million was collected from those that had to use the service.

Image: Leah Farrell

FIGURES RELEASED BY the Department of Health show the State spent nearly €25 million on mandatory hotel quarantine last year.

The system was in place for six months between March and September 2021 for people coming into the State from certain areas which were deemed to have sustained human transmission of Covid-19 or any variant of concern of the virus.

It was scaled back in September as the designation of a large number of States was revoked. 

A total of 10,294 people entered the mandatory quarantine system during its operation. At its height, 1,008 people were in the system, which had a capacity of 1,607 rooms spread across eight hotels. 

According to the figures, released today, it cost the state €24.75 million to operate the system. This includes the cost of transportation to and from the hotels, 24-hour security, 24-hour GP-led healthcare provision in each of the hotels and weekly Covid testing of all staff.

Approximately €9.5 million was collected from those that had to use the service. However, the department said it has put arrangements in place to “follow up cases where payment remains due” for the service.

Other costs incurred related to the provision of a statutory appeals process, expert legal reports, public communications, facilities at ports and ICT equipment rental. 

Accommodation was the most expensive item, costing €12,284,793, with medical-related costs totalling €5,152,569. 

€5,464,057 was spent on security and €817,661 was spent on transport, while the appeals process cost €725,399. 

The State also spent €181,389 on communications, €30,165 for facilities at ports and €13,970 on legal reports.

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The cost of staying in mandatory hotel quaranine for 12 nights was €1,875 for one adult, €625 for children aged 12 or over, and €360 for children aged between 4-12. There was no charge for infants.

The Department of Health said the system was designed and legislated for in “extremely tight timelines” given the extreme urgency of the Covid situation at the time.

It said it was introduced as “an exceptional public health measure, given the serious risk of importation of variants of concern with the potential to overwhelm the health service and to undermine the national vaccination programme”.

It said that while there may be some invoices yet to be received, the overall cost is not
expected to change significantly.

Legislation which allows for the renewal of mandatory hotel quarantine in Ireland was signed into law in December. 

About the author:

Jane Moore

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