Hotel quarantine for 'high-risk' arrivals will be introduced by mid-February

Hotel quarantine for 'high-risk' arrivals will be introduced by mid-February

PASSENGERS arriving in Ireland from 'high-risk' destinations will be subject to hotel quarantine measures by the middle of the month, the Taoiseach has confirmed.

Micheál Martin said that his Government wants to have these regulations in place for anyone arriving from countries where a variant of Covid-19 is evident and spreading quickly, such as Brazil or South Africa.

The measures will apply for anyone who arrives without proof of a negative PCR test.

"We would hope to have it in place in a similar timeline [to the UK], and we're working on that against a very serious issue in our Constitution in terms of personal liberties," Martin told RTÉ's Prime Time programme on Thursday.

"We announced it two weeks ago we thought we would move in this direction, we've brought in a raft of measures since that government decision from police checking at airports, to increasing fines from €100 to €500 if you’re in breach of Level 5 on the way to the airport, to the home mandatory quarantining, and a number of other measures as well.

"The mandatory quarantining in terms of the hotel facilities, is the next stage and work is already underway in relation to that.

"We do accept that the variants have changed the landscape in relation to this virus, very significantly, and we are in a race, in respect of rolling out the vaccination program, the prolonged suppression of the virus itself, and reducing all potential for its spread," he added.

The Taoiseach's words come as new laws came into effect at midnight on Wednesday, requiring people arriving in Ireland from abroad to quarantine at home.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly signed new regulations into law this week giving effect to the Government's recent decision to introduce a system of mandatory quarantine for arrivals into the State.