The Department of Health has confirmed that people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will shortly no longer have to complete a period of mandatory hotel quarantine on arrival from a country named on the Government's designated states list.
In a statement this evening, the Department also confirmed the current hotel quarantine capacity will increase from April 17th following an agreement with the State's supplier, Tifco Hotel Group.
From Saturday, Tifco have agreed to increase capacity by 305 rooms two days ahead of schedule, bringing the overall number of rooms available to 959. By April 23rd, the capacity will have further increased to 1,189 rooms, and then to 1,607 by April 26th.
The Department also confirmed the online booking portal for reserving hotel quarantine places will reopen later today.
The Minister for Health is pleased to announce that following intensive work, the Department of Health and Tifco Hotel Group have achieved an increase in capacity on the system, which will come on line from this Saturday April 17th: https://t.co/OkOcwh5X4aAdvertisement
— Department of Health (@roinnslainte) April 15, 2021
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly welcomed the news, saying mandatory hotel quarantine "is a very important public health measure and ensures we continue to have the strongest border biosecurity measures in Europe".
"Our system of mandatory hotel quarantine is working as intended to protect the country from the importation of Covid-19, particularly variants of concern.
"To date, 18 people in mandatory hotel quarantine have tested positive for Covid-19, of which four involve probable variants of concern. I am very grateful to those that have entered mandatory quarantine and for playing their part to stop the spread of this disease," Mr Donnelly added.
Regarding the decision to soon give fully vaccinated people an exemption from hotel quarantine, the Minister said: "The Government decision last week was for a rapid review to be conducted. I have now received advice from the acting chief medical officer, which I have accepted.
"Legal regulations will now be required to exempt fully vaccinated people from mandatory hotel quarantine and allow them complete home quarantine. These regulations will be drafted and signed in the coming days."