Friday, 16 July 2021
Mandatory Hotel Quarantine Extension: Motion
I wish to ask the Minister a series of questions about people who have been fully vaccinated with WHO-approved vaccines but not EMA-approved vaccines and who are still required to go into mandatory hotel quarantining. When will people who have to travel for medical reasons and do not fall into the current exemptions be provided for?
I would also like to get a bit of clarity about how countries are designated and removed from the list. I see it as being quite vague and I would like to see more transparency. As the global north becomes more vaccinated, the overwhelming majority of countries on the red list will be poorer countries and countries in the global south. Hotel quarantine will, therefore, impact people travelling from Africa, Asia and Latin America and disproportionately affect people of colour.
I will take a moment to reiterate the call for patents to be removed on Covid-19 vaccines in order that we can boost production, stop new variants emerging and stand with our brothers and sisters across the globe. They will view the position of Ireland and the European Commission, which are in the hands of big pharma, as a betrayal and it will not be forgotten. It does not bode well for the series of challenges we face in our world, particularly climate change.
How much is mandatory hotel quarantine currently costing the Exchequer? How much will it cost as a result of the extension into October? This is obviously a very privatised system that relies on big hotel groups in this way. I watched the Dáil debate in which it was said that the system has detected 350 active Covid-19 cases. Could the Minister confirm that or clarify what the number might be?