Health minister welcomes mandatory quarantine legislation for international travel

Health minister welcomes mandatory quarantine legislation for international travel

Minister Donnelly said a location for the quarantine will be announced soon. Picture:Gareth Chaney/Collins

President Michael D Higgins this morning has signed mandatory quarantine legislation into law. 

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has welcomed the announcement. 

The legislation means people arriving into the country from 33 states will have to quarantine in a designated facility for two weeks.

Under the new legislation, any arrival who fails to adhere to the rules will be fined €4,000 and face a possible month in prison for the first month. 

"Having considered the Health (Amendment) Bill 2021 the President has signed the Bill and it has accordingly become law," a statement from Áras an Uachtaráin said. 

Public health officials have advised against travel for non-essential reasons to prevent the spread of new variants of Covid-19. Picture:Gareth Chaney/Collins
Public health officials have advised against travel for non-essential reasons to prevent the spread of new variants of Covid-19. Picture:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Mr Donnelly said the quarantine system is an important step in the country's defence against the coronavirus. 

He said the process of putting the quarantine system in place is underway and is a priority across government departments. 

Private sector input into the system is also happening and Mr Donnelly said a contract will be signed soon. 

“The next step in this process is to finalise and sign a contract with a service provider. I anticipate this will happen shortly”, said Minister Donnelly. 

With the legislation now in effect, the government has yet to announce what facilities will be used for the quarantine. 

The costs of the quarantine to the traveller has also yet to be revealed as well as some operational details. 

The potential role of An Garda Síochána or the Defence Forces has also not been confirmed. 

Penalties for non-essential international travel have also increased from a €500 fine to €2,000. 

Public health officials have advised against travel for non-essential reasons to prevent the spread of new variants of Covid-19.

Last week, gardaí revealed fines totalling €222,500 for non-essential travel to airports and ports have been issued.  

Elsewhere fines equalling €10,300 for non-essential travel by persons who do not normally live in Ireland have been handed out. 

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