Govt to introduce new measures to strengthen self-isolating by foreign visitors

Govt to introduce new measures to strengthen self-isolating by foreign visitors
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD and CEO of the National Transport Authority, Anne Graham. Picture: Maxwells

The Government is to introduce new measures to strengthen self-isolating by people who come to Ireland from abroad.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said anyone thinking of a trip to Ireland that does not include staying in place for the first 14 days breaks health guidelines related to the passenger locator form. Under current guidelines, anyone found to have wrongly filled out the form is liable to be fined up to €2,500 or imprisoned for up to six months.

Mr Donnelly reiterated that anyone who planned to come to Ireland to stay in multiple locations within 14 days was in breach of guidelines.

"What matters to us is compliance with the public health guidelines. We will be announcing next Monday a "green list" (a list of countries which are safe to travel to without facing self-isolation). We will also be announcing additional measures at the ports of entry and exit to maximise compliance with those guidelines."

Mr Donnelly said he could not elaborate on the measures, but said that the Government was aware that people were frustrated that some holidaymakers were able to come to Ireland while they themselves had cancelled holidays.

"The vast majority of Irish people are not going on foreign holidays and they're doing so at great cost to themselves. You've a lot of people who might have booked a holiday and saved all year and have had to turn around to their children and say that they can't go. 

"We're acutely aware of that and that the quid pro quo for that needs to be that people who come to our country are left under no illusion of what is expected."

Mr Donnelly added that people who arrive into Ireland and have a return flight sooner than the 14 days are covered by the self-isolation rules and cannot freely make their way around Ireland.

"What we want people to do is to comply with the public health guidelines. That is, when you come into Ireland, we want you to self-restrict for 14 days. You can leave for essential trips for exercise or to go to the shops."

Mr Donnelly was joined by Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and NTA CEO Ann Graham as the three reacted to high levels of compliance with mandatory face coverings on public transport. Mr Donnelly called the levels of compliance "huge".

Ms Graham said on some services, compliance levels were reported to be up to 90%.

Mr Ryan called it "a good day for Ireland" and said that the "social norm" would increase those figures.

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