Written answers

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Photo of Patrick CostelloPatrick Costello (Dublin South Central, Green Party)
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998. To ask the Minister for Health if a commitment will be made to allow for a process for persons to apply for an exemption from the mandatory hotel quarantine as provided under the relevant health Act for compassionate reasons before they make their journey abroad and return here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21711/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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Mandatory hotel quarantine has been introduced as one element of Ireland’s public health measures to combat the transmission of COVID-19 variants of concern.

The Health Act 1947, as amended, provides that all persons arriving in Ireland from a designated state, or having travelled through a designated state in the previous 14 days, are required to undergo mandatory quarantine in a designated facility unless they are an exempted traveller under the Act. All applicable travellers must reserve and pay for a place in mandatory hotel quarantine.

Mandatory hotel quarantine is also necessary in circumstances where passengers coming from non-designated states do not provide evidence that they have a negative or ‘not detected’ result from a COVID-19 Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test carried out no more than 72 hours before arrival into Ireland. 

The provisions of the Act allow for travellers to request a review of decisions relating to their quarantine in a designated facility; however, this can only be undertaken once quarantine has begun. Requests for review are submitted to the State Liaison Officer present in each designated facility and are considered by independent appeals officers. Decisions on requests for review are provided within a 24-hour period. The State Liaison Officer (Irish Defence Forces) in the hotel provides passengers with information on how to apply.

The Act identifies those who are exempt from mandatory hotel quarantine, and a full list of exemptions can be accessed on gov.ie/quarantine.  

The Government continues to evaluate wider policy on international travel as informed by the epidemiological situation and public health advice.

In this context, regulations have been introduced to allow fully vaccinated persons arriving from designated states to be exempt from Mandatory Hotel Quarantine. However, this only applies to persons who are fully vaccinated with an EMA-approved vaccine and there will still be a requirement for them to quarantine at home following arrival into the State.

Please note that the 4 EMA approved vaccines currently accepted have specific definitions for when a person would be considered fully vaccinated.

The following table sets out the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’;

Type of Vaccine You are regarded as fully vaccinated after
Pfizer-BioNtech 7 days after 2nd dose
Moderna 14 days after 2nd dose
Oxford-AstraZeneca 15 days after 2nd dose
Johnson & Johnson/Janssen 14 days after single dose

Passengers who are fully vaccinated and exempt from hotel quarantine are still subject to other travel restrictions, such as the need to provide a negative pre-departure PCR test and complete a period of self-quarantine at home or wherever specified in their passenger locator form.

Neither myself or my Department have any role in deciding which persons must enter mandatory quarantine or which persons are exempt from entering mandatory quarantine. All such decisions are to be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

The Government continues to advise against all non-essential international travel.

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