The Health Minister has confirmed a list of 20 “high-risk” countries for Covid-19 from which arrivals will shortly face a mandatory 14-day period of quarantine at a designated facility.
Travellers from these countries will quarantine at their own expense, with legislation to be brought before Cabinet next week.
Stephen Donnelly said the National Oversight Group for Variants of Concern and chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan had advised that more stringent restrictions on travel be applied to the following 18 states:
- Cape Verde
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- United Arab Emirates
Brazil and the Republic of South Africa have been on the list of “Category 2” states since February 5th.
However, hotel quarantines have yet to be operationalised in the Republic.
Minister Donnelly said: “Under the current Level 5 restrictions nobody should be engaging in non-essential travel at this time.
“These stringent measures on people arriving to Ireland from 20 states are necessary in responding to the risks posed by variants of concern.
“People who arrive in Ireland must now complete a full mandatory 14-day period of self-quarantine if they have been in any of these states in the previous 14 days.
“The Government will shortly consider legislation that will require such passengers arriving here to complete this quarantine at a designated facility.”
The Minister for Justice is also examining the question of changes to visa arrangements, in respect of states being added to the list.
Approaching the end of January, the Government announced a number of new restrictions on international travel into the Republic amid the pandemic.
Measures included the introduction of a mandatory 14-day quarantine in a designated facility for travellers who arrive into Ireland without a negative PCR test for the virus taken in the previous 72 hours, and for arrivals from variant hotspots of Brazil and South Africa.
All other arrivals are required to quarantine at home, with the ask given a new legal basis. Those quarantining at home can continue to exit the 14-day period early with a negative test for the virus on Day 5.
The Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that restrictions on non-essential travel will be in place for the remainder of the year.
About 60 per cent of those currently travelling are returning Irish holidaymakers.
More than 5,200 Irish residents that arrived into Dublin Airport over the course of a week starting at the end of January said they had been on holidays, despite restrictions on non-essential international travel.