Passengers arriving at Cork and Shannon airports are currently being transported to Dublin for their mandatory hotel quarantine due to a lack of capacity in the Munster region.
People arriving into Cork Port, Cork Airport, and Shannon Airport are being met by Defence Forces personnel upon arrival and then chaperoned to their quarantine facilities in the capital.
The Department of Health has confirmed that passengers entering via the south of the country are currently being accommodated at either the Crowne Plaza or the Holiday Inn Express at Dublin Airport.
“Facilities in Cork or other regional locations have not been stepped up for the purposes of mandatory hotel quarantine at this point,” a spokesperson said.
Demand for hotel quarantine facilities is expected to rise sharply in the coming weeks as last night the Government added 16 extra countries to the hotel quarantine list. Among the additional countries are France, Italy, Turkey, Canada and the US.
The Defence Forces acknowledged it has been designated as the State Liaison Official in support of the new quarantine system, which went live on March 26.
A spokesperson said that passengers arriving into the southern ports of entry are transported to their quarantine facilities by bus, though it is understood that the vehicles in use are not official Defence Forces equipment.
“The vast majority of incoming passengers arrive through Dublin Airport, with a small number coming from Shannon, Cork and seaports,” they added.
It’s unclear exactly how many passengers have been transported to Dublin from Cork since the mandatory hotel quarantine system became operational on March 26. The Department of Health declined to confirm what that number might be.
The State contract for mandatory quarantine was awarded to Tifco Hotel Group. In addition to the Crowne Plaza and the Holiday Inn Express, the other two hotels currently in use are the Clontarf Castle Hotel and the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin city centre.
There are currently 654 hotel rooms available for mandatory quarantining, but it is expected that capacity will at least double as more countries are added.
Department of Health officials have been in regular contact with hotel provider Tifco this week.
The standard rate for mandatory quarantine, for one adult in one room, is €1,875 for 12 nights service. Non-adherence to quarantine is punishable by a €2,000 fine or a prison sentence of one month.