Cabinet to discuss mandatory hotel quarantine in Republic
The Cabinet is to discuss mandatory hotel quarantine for some travellers arriving in the Republic of Ireland.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly will set out legislation to allow mandatory quarantine at designated hotels for up to 14 days.
Officials are finalising details around the programme, which is set to be introduced in the coming weeks.
It will apply to overseas arrivals travelling from countries deemed to be at high risk of Covid-19.
People will be required to cover the costs of the quarantine bill in State-designated hotels.
The final costs of the programme have yet to be finalised by officials.
The UK Government is charging travellers a 2,000 euro (£1,750) fee for its 11-night mandatory quarantine.
Legislation is expected to be brought before the Dáil and the Seanad next week, before it comes into effect at the beginning of March.
However, People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the legislation is “full of holes”.
“It’s going to be a cherry-picking of countries from which people will have to quarantine, rather than quarantining anybody who is coming into the country.
“Unless the quarantine is across the board, that anyone coming into this country is quarantined, it will not have the desired effect.
“I think that is symptomatic of the government’s failure to deal with the Covid crisis, it’s unwillingness to take the sort of measures necessary to end this really grim situation we are facing, I think’s worth emphasising just how grim it is.
“Really the situation, the lockdown, the cases, the fatalities are really taking their toll on people’s mental health and that would not be necessary is the Government was willing to embark on a serious strategy to push down Covid-19 and that would require mandatory quarantine for all incoming travellers.”
It came as the vaccination programme for the over-85s got under way at a number of GP practices today.
Some 13,500 people over the age of 85 are due to receive their first dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine by the end of the week.
Today, the number of patients in hospital with coronavirus fell to 861.
Figures also show that the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care has dropped to 159 from a peak of 221 patients on January 24.
HSE boss Paul Reid said there is much to fix in the health service.
“There’s also much we’ve put in place during Covid-19 that has strengthened it,” he tweeted.
“Working with GPs in an improved way with access to diagnostics, improved primary care and rolling out vaccinations has worked.”