Visitors from US, Germany, Italy and France may face hotel quarantine here

Visitors from US, Germany, Italy and France may face hotel quarantine here

Defence Forces personnel awaiting flights to escort passengers to their mandatory hotel quarantine at Dublin Airport. Picture: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Travellers to Ireland from the US and a number of EU countries including Italy, Germany and France may have to quarantine in hotels after a recommendation from the Travel Expert Advisory Group.

The group has recommended that the current list of 33 be more than doubled, with 43 countries added to it, including America. 

The countries are identified as having variants of concern or high levels of community transmission of Covid-19. 

The advice was sent to the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly on Monday night and forwarded to Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.

A spokesperson for Minister Coveney said: “Any addition to the list of category 2 countries requires consultation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs by the Minister for Health. That has not happened to date.”

The Government is expected to make a decision on the list later this week, however, the new list is seen as trickier for the Government as it contains a number of key economic allies. 

The current list contains a number of countries with no direct flights to Ireland and minimal passenger numbers in a normal year. 

The decision to force American passengers to quarantine will "not be taken lightly" according to a source, despite all arrivals legally being required to quarantine at home for 14 days.

There are also questions on whether the Irish system, which has just four designated hotels, would be able to handle the additional numbers of travellers.

The system, which was announced in January only went live last week and was immediately plunged into controversy when three people absconded from their hotel quarantine.

Two have since returned to the hotel. Gardaí were continuing to hunt for the third today, though it is believed that he travelled to Northern Ireland.

Those who do not obey the law will be fined €2,000 and/or imprisoned for up to a month according to the law governing the system.

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