Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Department of Health
Following a government decision regarding the Level 5 restrictions and the making of the Health Act 1947 (Section 31a - Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No. 10) (Amendment) Regulations 2021, the development an essential health and related project is comprehended within the exemptions to closure. Paragraph 5 of Part 2 to the Schedule to the Health Act 1947 (Section 31a - Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No. 10) Regulations 2020 (as amended) details the construction and development that is included in the definition of an essential service and whereby a worker may leave his or her place of residence and attend a premises for the provision of that essential service.
The recent amendment to the Regulations significantly enhances and expands upon “Construction and Development” deemed to be an essential service under Part 2 of the Schedule to the Original Regulations. Critical construction of essential health projects are exempt from restrictions as the development of an essential health or related project isn’t dependent on it being linked to preventing, limiting, minimising or slowing the spread of Covid-19.
While the majority of Health Capital projects are progressing during the current restrictions, a number of projects can be slowed or stopped due to in-ability to access the required work areas due to COVID outbreaks or clinical decisions to limit access to those areas. In some regions there are indications of a slow-down in work due to supply chain and workforce issues, despite the sites being open.
750. To ask the Minister for Health the measures that have been taken to address the concerns of persons in relation to a repeat of the arrival of large volumes of seasonal workers into Ireland in the coming weeks given the quarantine process and public health guidelines for incoming travellers and workers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10280/21]
751. To ask the Minister for Health the way in which the matter of staff who are entering Ireland for seasonal work will be addressed; if they will be required to undertake mandatory quarantining; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10282/21]
752. To ask the Minister for Health if seasonal staff entering Ireland in summer 2021 will be required to produce negative Covid-19 test results; if so, the person or body that will pay for these tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10283/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 750 to 752, inclusive, together.
Under the current regulations, only specific categories of travellers are exempt from completing mandatory testing and quarantine requirements. There is currently no exemption provided for seasonal agricultural workers.
Under the current travel measures, passengers arriving from overseas, including via Northern Ireland, are required to present a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form and produce evidence of a negative pre-departure RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel. The test result must be shown prior to boarding plane or ferry and once again to border official upon arrival. Any travellers arriving without a pre-travel PCR test result must complete one within 36 hours of arrival at their own expense or will be committing an additional offence.
Arriving passengers from overseas are also required to quarantine for 14 days at the address provided on their Passenger Locator Form. A second ‘non-detected’ PCR test result taken no less than 5 days after arrival can end the quarantine period. However, certain countries are designated as category 2 states due to the concerns about the presence of SARS-CoV-2 variants and arrivals from these countries do not have the option to end the quarantine period early.
Arrivals that are exempt from mandatory quarantine include international transport workers, members of An Garda Síochána or the Defence Forces who are travelling in course of their duties and persons travelling to Ireland for unavoidable and time-sensitive medical reasons.
Close consideration is given by Government to travel measures and the response will continue to be adapted based on the epidemiological situation and based on latest public health advice. Legislation is being brought before the Dáil to give effect to the Government decision on introduction of mandatory quarantine at a designated facility for all passengers arriving from category 2 states and related matters.