Mandatory quarantine and more checkpoints considered under increased travel restrictions

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International arrivals into Ireland will be one of the key topics discussed at next week's meeting of the Cabinet Covid-19 sub-committee on Monday, with more road checkpoints and mandatory quarantine among the measures being considered.

An increased Garda presence near Dublin airport is expected, while a mandatory five-day quarantine for passengers arriving into the State without a non-detected Covid test result may also be on the cards.

Hotels such as City West in Dublin have been earmarked as potential quarantine hotels, a measure that has been utilised in Australia since the onset of the pandemic last year.

However, concerns have been raised regarding the Border with Northern Ireland, with calls being made for a joint approach to reduce the possibility of travellers entering the State via the North to avoid having to quarantine.

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Yesterday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed talks were ongoing between Ireland and the UK regarding a 'two-island' solution to mandatory quarantining, adding that closing the Border with North was not an option.

Despite positive signs in key indicators of the virus in Ireland over the past week, the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has recommended current Level 5 restrictions remain in place until the end of next month.

According to The Irish Times, sources expect this extension to go ahead, but the Government is hoping ongoing discussions with unions will see students with special educational needs return to school, while a partial reopening of the construction industry is also being considered.

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Ministers will also discuss imposing heightened restrictions on passengers arriving from South Africa and Brazil following the detection of new variants of the virus in both countries.

This comes after an announcement from UK prime minister Boris Johnson yesterday, saying there was evidence that the variant of the virus detected in the southeast of England late last year could be associated with higher mortality.

According to data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), 10 per cent of Ireland's total Covid-related deaths occurred last week, with 247 deaths recorded in the seven days to January 15th.

Yesterday, 2,371 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the Republic, with 52 additional deaths.

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