The government is set to add a number of EU countries to its ‘high-risk’ list next Tuesday, which means that anyone arriving from those countries would have to comply with mandatory hotel quarantine restrictions.
Last week it was reported that Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly wanted to add France, Germany and Italy to the list along with the United States, but the idea was strongly opposed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney. Indications are that the Department of Health has won the argument.
As reported today in the Irish Independent, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan expect Cabinet to sign off on adding the as-yet unspecified EU countries to the list, quoting him as saying, “I would expect the decision on this would be approved by Cabinet on Tuesday and it would take a number of days after that to implement whatever measures, but that’s the timeline I was expecting.” However, it is commonly assumed that France, Germany and Italy will be the countries added.
“Additional countries will be added and for some people, that will present a real burden but it’s a burden we’re going to have to bear because we want to err on the side of caution,” he added.
Shortening Mandatory Quarantine
The government is also exploring the possibility of shortening mandatory quarantine for arrivals who test negative for Covid-19 as well as how it might apply to those who’ve had full doses of a vaccine.
Higher Education Minister Simon Harris said it was “perfectly legitimate” to look at cutting the length of mandatory quarantine in some cases, but that Cabinet would sign off on any alterations next Tuesday.
The whole system has been the subject of much debate and controversy, with Mr Harris admitting that anyone had the right to take a legal challenge to it, but that the government had been “guided closely” by the Attorney General in its legal advice.
However, questions remain unanswered as to the ultimate efficacy of a system that doesn’t take account of the varying health conditions of arrivals – particularly in relation to presenting a series of negative Covid tests or proof of vaccination.
(Photo by Erik Mclean)