PASSENGERS INTO Ireland from 'high-risk' countries will be temporarily unable to make bookings for Mandatory Hotel Quarantine as the hotels have reached capacity.
The Department of Health yesterday announced that they and the Tifco Hotel Group, who supply the hotels for the scheme, have agreed to "temporarily pause" the MHQ booking portal.
The move is describes as a "precautionary measure to enable further assessment of capacity within the mandatory hotel quarantine system for the coming days".
Those who have already made a booking are not affected by the pause in the scheme, and bookings will continue from 19 April onwards; those due to arrive in Ireland on those dates should still book their hotel.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health added: "The temporary pause will be kept under ongoing review should additional capacity become available".
They reminded the public that official advice remains "strongly against all non-essential international travel".
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly yesterday appeared on RTÉ's Six One News where he said bookings have been paused due to the high level of "walk-ins" to the Mandatory Quarantine Hotels, and that some passengers have not pre-booked their stay before arriving into Ireland.
Some airlines were allowing people to board from restricted countries without ensuring they had pre-booked a stay at a quarantine hotel, he said, adding that this should not be happening.
There are currently 650 rooms available on the Mandatory Hotel Quarantine scheme-- this will increase to 960 next week, and to over 1,300 from the week after.
Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, is engaging with carriers to discuss the situation of people from restricted countries continuing to be allowed board flights to Ireland without pre-booking hotel quarantine, which is a mandatory requirement.
You can read more about the countries on Ireland's Mandatory Hotel Quarantine list here.