It’s official: vaccinated people are to be exempted from mandatory hotel quarantine, according to health minister Stephen Donnelly. Regulations to that effect will be drafted over the coming days and signed in to law.
The decision came on the same day that arrivals from 16 new countries have to undergo 12 days of mandatory quarantine, including the United States, France, Italy, Canada and Belgium, prompting diplomatic and political pushback from the EU, with complaints from a series of EU embassies and the EU Commission looking for clarification and raising “some concerns in relation to the general principles of EU law, in particular proportionality and non-discrimination.” On RTE’s Primetime programme last night, Stephen Donnelly expressed full confidence in the system being fully in compliance with EU law.
There was more confusion yesterday when it was announced by the Department of Health that mandatory hotel bookings had been temporarily paused as mandated quarantine hotels had reached capacity due to walk-ins from arrivals who had not pre-booked their slot. The Tifco Hotel group has said extra hotel capacity would be added and the booking system reopened last night.
As well as vaccinated people, elite sports and professional athletes will also be exempted, said Stephen Donnelly last night.
Meanwhile, many passengers returned to Ireland on Wednesday ahead of the inclusion of the new countries on the high risk list. Travelmedia.ie’s Michael Collins was on the last non-quarantine flight from Paris CDG on Wednesday morning, and he spoke to some of the passengers desperate to return before being forced into mandatory quarantine.