Arrivals in Ireland will have to fill in form saying where they will isolate for 14 days

The Covid-19 Public Health Passenger Locator Form is already in use but has now been placed on a mandatory footing following a meeting of Cabinet.
The Covid-19 Public Health Passenger Locator Form is already in use but has now been placed on a mandatory footing following a meeting of Cabinet.

"Extraordinary measure" will help with contact tracing, says Harris.

From next Thursday onwards, any person coming to Ireland from abroad will now be legally required to fill out a form telling authorities where they will be self-isolating for 14 days.

The Covid-19 Public Health Passenger Locator Form is already in use but has now been placed on a mandatory footing following a meeting of Cabinet.

Health minister Simon Harris said that the form represents an “extraordinary measure” but said that it will help health authorities carry out contact tracing, as well as help prevent an imported outbreak of the virus.

Exemption is made for those transiting to the North or any other country; certified international transport workers; and air and maritime pilots and crew.

People from Northern Ireland will have to fill out a portion of the form. A person who has filled out the form will be spot-checked by phone and if there is a suspicion that they are not at the address listed, a member of the gardaí can visit the address.

Anyone found to have wrongly filled out the form is liable to be fined up to €2,500 or imprisoned for up to six months.

“We continue to advise everyone against non-essential travel. However, if a person does arrive into Ireland, they will be legally obliged to fill out this form, regardless of their nationality. The form will be used to facilitate a system of follow-up checks to make sure people who travel to the country are staying where they said that they would. The form will also ensure more accurate and quicker contact tracing, should we have a confirmed case on a flight or ferry coming into Ireland,” said Mr Harris.

“Every measure we take is aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19 and protecting people from this virus. This is no different. I think from talking to lots of people across the country that people want to know these measures are in place. If they’re working really hard, and sacrificing so much, they want to know that we’re making sure that we’re on top of such things.”

Cabinet also approved the deployment of up to three permanent Defence Force personnel to a new EU operation in the Mediterranean.

Codenamed Operation Irini, the plan will not see an Irish naval vessel deployed, but it does provide for the possible future deployment of up to two permanent Defence Force personnel to the force headquarters at sea.

In the memo for Cabinet, ministers were told that Operation Irini follows the core task of preventing arms trafficking in the Mediterranean.

“Operation Sophia officially closed on Mar 31, 2020, following a number of technical rollovers of the operation mandate between September 2018 and March 2020 in light of the ongoing lack of agreement around disembarkation and redistribution of migrants rescued at sea,” defence minister Paul Kehoe told Cabinet.

Ministers also signed off on a revised Department of Social Protection spending estimate for the Department of Social Protection, €6.8bn higher than originally planned. TDs will vote on the measure on Thursday, allowing the Department to avoid hitting a legal spending ceiling.

Other measures Cabinet approved included a vote on the renewal of provisions of the Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 and the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009. Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan secured Government approval to bring the renewals before the Oireachtas.