Today marks 21 days since the first passengers entered Mandatory Hotel Quarantine, one of the many significant public health measures taken by the Government designed to protect the population against Variants of Concern and the risk of transmission from COVID-19.
- The Government Advisory against all non-essential international travel remains in operation.
- As of yesterday evening, 377 people had completed quarantine. There are 532 people in a designated facility.
- The majority of people arriving in to quarantine are arriving into Dublin Airport and are arriving from or have transited through a designated State.
- As of 15 April, there are 18 occupants who have received a positive COVID-19 test, of which 4 are probable Variants of Concern.
- Overall, there have been 907 bookings into the Mandatory Hotel Quarantine system. Of these, 87 were for March, 720 in April, 94 in May, and 6 in June.
- Overall, passenger figures from designated States have fallen since the Mandatory Hotel Quarantine policy was introduced.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD, said: “My Department continues to work with all State stakeholders and with Tifco Hotel Group on this policy, with the shared aim of protecting Ireland from the importation of COVID-19, particularly Variants of Concern. The Government is committed to protecting public health as a matter of urgency.
“It is worth restating that Mandatory Hotel Quarantine is not simply about hotel rooms – it is a complex and collaborative system, requiring support across Government from a range of key State stakeholders, such as the Defence Forces (performing the important State Liaison Officer role), the Department of Justice (providing the essential Independent Appeals function, as well as immigration officials to process passengers at the ports of entry as per agreed protocols, alongside Revenue Customs officials, and An Garda Síochána to respond to any incidents), the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Transport, the Department of Defence, the Department of the Taoiseach, the HSE, and all those who work in our ports and airports around Ireland.
He continued: “Alongside the very many dedicated staff in Tifco Hotel Group, we are all working to ensure that those who enter Mandatory Hotel Quarantine are comfortable and secure as they comply with the public health advice for all of our benefit.
“The operation of each designated facility is supported by trained Tifco hotel staff, medical personnel, and security guards, as well as the State Liaison Officer, who continue to increase their staffing numbers at each hotel.
“Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has entered Mandatory Hotel Quarantine. I am keenly aware that completing quarantine is a significant undertaking and an important action to protect the population. This commitment to safeguarding both public health and also the progress of our COVID-19 vaccination programme should be commended.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The following capacity increases have been announced:
- Tifco have confirmed the addition of 305 rooms, two days ahead of schedule, and will be ready to start taking bookings for those arriving Saturday 17th April onwards
- This will bring the capacity on Saturday 17th April to 959 rooms
- By Friday April 23rd capacity will increase to 1189 rooms
- By Monday April 26th capacity will increase to 1607 rooms
A list of designated facilities is available online here.
How are countries added to the list of designated States
The Expert Advisory Group on Travel (EAGT) was established on 1 March 2021 to develop a method of risk assessing States and consider all concerns COVID-19 poses for travel.
The Group meets every two weeks to recommend amendments to the list of Designated States, taking into account:
- countries with outbreak involving known variants of concern
- countries with a very high 14-day incidence (≥500/100,000)
- countries with a high 14-day incidence (greater than 2.5 times Ireland’s 14-dau incidence but <500/100,000)
These recommendations are considered by the Chief Medical Officer who in turn makes a recommendation to the Minister for Health.
The EAGT has emphasised the ongoing risk presented by variants of concern, variants of interest and the challenge posed by the limited availability of data relating to the locations and spread of VOCs.
The group will give ongoing consideration to any other measures they deem required to reduce the risk of imported cases of COVID-19.