VISITORS to Ireland from high-risk nations who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be exempt from mandatory hotel quarantine the Government has confirmed.
Currently the Irish Government has advised against all non-essential travel into the country.
For those who do have to visit, there are various legal guidelines that they must adhere to in order to be permitted entry.
Since February 4, 2021 a legal requirement to home quarantine was introduced for all passengers arriving in Ireland.
This 14-day quarantine must be undertaken at the address specified on the Passenger Locator Form which they must complete prior to their arrival.
Proof of a negative Covid-19 test, taken within 72 hours of their departure, must also now be shown on arrival.
Currently these rules apply to all arrivals from Britain and other nations not deemed high-risk ‘designated states’, as well as to passengers travelling from another country to Ireland, who arrive via Northern Ireland.
Passengers arriving from the 72 high-risk nations that now feature on Ireland’s designated states list - which includes the US, France, Italy and Belgium - are required to undertake Mandatory Hotel Quarantine, at their own cost, for 14 days.
The hotel quarantine system, which was launched in Ireland on March 26, was forced to pause this week due to the available hotel slots being full.
But Health Minister Stephen Donnelly confirmed today that the Government and its hotel partner for the scheme the Tifco Hotel Group have been able to increase their room capacity and will begin taking bookings again from Saturday, April 17.
Mr Donnelly confirmed that an extra 305 rooms will be available to the scheme as of April 17, with capacity continuing to increase in the week that follows, with a total of 1607 rooms being available by Monday, April 26.
"I welcome the intensive efforts made by both officials in my department and the Tifco Hotel Group to bring about this increased capacity,” Minister Donnelly said today.
“Mandatory Hotel Quarantine is a very important public health measure and ensures we continue to have the strongest border biosecurity measures in Europe,” he added.
"Our system of Mandatory Hotel Quarantine is working as intended to protect the country from the importation of COVID-19, particularly variants of concern,” he explained.
“To date, 18 people in Mandatory Hotel Quarantine have tested positive for Covid-19, of which four involve probable variants of concern. I am very grateful to those that have entered mandatory quarantine and for playing their part to stop the spread of this disease.”
In the same statement, Mr Donnelly confirmed that legislation would be enacted in the coming days exempting fully vaccinated passengers arriving from designated states from the mandatory hotel quarantine requirement.
"The Government decision last week was for a rapid review to be conducted. I have now received advice from the Acting Chief Medical Officer, which I have accepted,” he said.
"Legal regulations will now be required to exempt fully vaccinated people from Mandatory Hotel Quarantine and allow them complete home quarantine - these regulations will be drafted and signed in the coming days."