Summer holidays and travelling home for Christmas could be off the table if mandatory quarantine is introduced in Ireland
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Summer holidays and travelling home for Christmas could be off the table if mandatory quarantine is introduced in Ireland

LEO VARADKAR has warned that holidays abroad and even travelling home for Christmas could be off the cards this year should mandatory quarantine be introduced.

The government is under increased pressure to reduce the transmission of Covid-19, as hospitals around the country continue to work close to full capacity, with some near breaking point.

Many have been urging the introduction of mandatory hotel quarantining for anyone arriving into Ireland.

The Tánaiste warned that such a rule will have a massive impact on life in Ireland for months - possibly even for the entirety of 2021 - stressing that foreign holidays and Christmas celebrations would likely be off the cards.

"We need to be frank with people about this. If we did it, it would probably be for a year," Varadkar said speaking on Claire Byrne Live on Monday evening.

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"I think once you do a very dramatic public health measure like that, it is hard to reverse. We probably wouldn't reverse it until everyone was vaccinated. Then we'd be heading into the winter.

"We wouldn't want to open up flights before Christmas. So people who maybe would like to take a summer holiday in August, people who would maybe like to see their relatives this Christmas ... that would probably be off the agenda."

This idea of mandatory quarantine was discussed during a Cabinet Sub-Committee meeting on Monday, but a decision isn't expected to made just yet.

It's understood that a five-day mandatory quarantine is to be introduced for anyone arriving from Covid variant hotspots such as South Africa and Brazil, but many have been pushing for an extended and more expansive rule.

There all calls for a 14-day quarantine to be introduced for anyone arriving in the country without a negative PCR test, though Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald is among those saying a two-week quarantine should apply to all arrivals, not just those without a negative test result.

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