Republic of Ireland news

Republic's mandatory hotel quarantine could lead to 80% drop in passengers, health minister says

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the aim of quarantine is to act as a “deterrent” to those travelling unnecessarily
Michelle Devane, PA

The Republic government’s mandatory hotel quarantining system could result in a 80% drop in passenger numbers arriving in the country, the Health Minister has indicated.

Stephen Donnelly said the aim of quarantine is to act as a “deterrent” to those travelling unnecessarily.

Mr Donnelly told RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland programme: “Obviously we want as little travel from these countries as possible.

“We’ve looked at the UK. What England found is that within the first week or two they saw about an 80% reduction in incoming travel. In other parts of the UK they saw after a few weeks in excess of a 90% reduction.

“Obviously we’ll have to wait to see what happens here. One of the issues is Irish citizens, Irish residents who are in these countries or have travelled through these countries wanting to come home.

“To a point, we’re going to have to wait and see what level of reduction there is.”

The booking portal for mandatory hotel quarantining went live on the government website this morning.

From Friday March 26 all passengers arriving into the Republic of Ireland from one of the 33 countries flagged as high risk by the government will have to quarantine for 14 days at a hotel.

They are now required to pre-book accommodation in a designated quarantine facility and to pre-pay for their stay.

The cost per adult traveller for a 12-night stay inclusive of all services is 1,875 euro.

The Tifco Hotel Group, which has been appointed as the service provider, will provide full board accommodation, as well as ground transportation, security services and health and wellbeing services.

The Crowne Plaza Dublin Airport Hotel in Santry will be the first hotel to receive quarantining travellers.

The new quarantine rules also apply to any passenger who arrives in the country from any other country without a negative PCR test for Covid-19 carried out no more than 72 hours before they arrive in Ireland.

Those passengers will have to pay a day rate of 150 euro.

The Defence Forces will not be involved in the everyday security or care of passengers in mandatory hotel quarantining.

Instead, Mr Donnelly said the Defence Forces will be the State’s liaison officers who will oversee the process of transportation.

“The Defence Forces are the state liaison,” he said.

“They’re doing, end to end, operational oversight for the full system.”

“For example, in transport, they won’t be on the bus, but they will be escorting the bus.

“Private security will be there obviously. They’ll be there in the hotels, but there should not be too much interaction, certainly in the in the passenger journey.”

The day-to-day running of the facilities will be handled by Tifco.

Mr Donnelly added that it will be an offence to leave the hotel early and in that instance the gardai will be called.

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