Mandatory hotel quarantine 'must be managed more effectively second time around'

Additional restrictions have applied to travel from seven designated countries
Mandatory hotel quarantine 'must be managed more effectively second time around'

The Irish Government has decided to reintroduce the legal basis for hotel quarantine in response to the threat posed by the new Omicron Covid variant. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Mandatory hotel quarantine must be managed more effectively in its second implementation, the Dáil has heard.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly presented new legislation to re-implement quarantine for international travellers from certain countries on Thursday morning.

The Irish Government has decided to reintroduce the legal basis for hotel quarantine in response to the threat posed by the new Omicron Covid variant.
Mr Donnelly said there is potential for increased transmissibility with Omicron.

My expectation is that we will see more (Omicron cases).

"The Government has implemented a number of measures to minimise potential risk.

"The actions are intended to limit the spread of the variant while we await further evidence relating to its transmissibility and the impact it has on disease severity, vaccines and treatments."

Additional restrictions have applied to travel from seven designated countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Sinn Féin, The Labour Party and the Social Democrats have all said they will support the legislation with amendments supplied.

Labour TD Duncan Smith said the countries which were added to the so-called "red list" during the last phase of quarantine were usually from the global south which reflected "badly on us".

"I have big concerns about how it was applied," he said.

"It was almost always a state from the global south. It was never a state in Europe, and certainly not the UK.

"The week of so-called Freedom Day in the UK...The UK's virus numbers remain off the charts. We added Cuba to the list that week. The other states that were on the list that week included states such as Burundi, Cape Verde, Eritrea, Ethiopia, French Guyana, Haiti, Kenya, Sudan and Tanzania."

Mr Smith said as a "very privileged, rich country" when we bring in quarantine and apply it in such a manner "directed towards the global south and the poorer nations, that reflects badly on us. It is a shame."

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