Wednesday, 30 June 2021
Department of Health
279. To ask the Minister for Health if a risk assessment has been carried out by South Tipperary General Hospital in relation to the ongoing restrictions on maternity units; if he has obtained a copy of the risk assessment; if such risk assessments can be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28196/21]
As this Parliamentary Question relates to an operational issue, it is a matter for the HSE. However, members of the Oireachtas are advised that the HSE is currently unable to access the information to answer Parliamentary Questions due to the recent cyber-attack, which has required a temporary shut-down of HSE IT systems. The disruption to service is on-going, and the HSE is working hard to restore its IT capacity and resume normal services. Members of the Oireachtas will be advised as soon as the HSE is again in a position to provide responses to PQs and are encouraged to resubmit their Parliamentary Questions at that point.
280. To ask the Minister for Health if clarity will be provided in relation to the way fully vaccinated persons, in particular Irish citizens, who plan to travel to Ireland can prove their vaccination or to secure an exemption prior to arrival; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28197/21]
301. To ask the Minister for Health if there are plans at a European level to change the quarantine rules for those who have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine (details supplied) and intend on returning to Ireland from their homes in the United Arab Emirates. [28244/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 280 and 301 together.
The Government has applied more stringent measures applying to international travel in order to mitigate against the risk of new variants being imported through travel and to protect the progress we are making in suppressing transmission domestically.
The Government continues to advise against non-essential international travel.
Passengers who are fully vaccinated with an EMA approved vaccine are exempt from hotel quarantine but are still subject to other travel restrictions, such as the need to provide a negative pre-departure PCR test and to complete a period of self-quarantine at home or wherever specified in their passenger locator form.
These travel measures are kept under continuous review based on public health advice and the international epidemiological situation. The Government has announced revised travel policies to take effect from 19 July in keeping with the EU Digital Covid Certificate. Work to give effect to these measures is progressing on a cross-departmental basis.
I am aware of how difficult the current visitor restrictions are for hospital patients and their families.
The HSE has advised that visiting arrangements in hospitals have changed to help protect patients and to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Information/guidance on visiting individual public hospitals is regularly updated on hospital websites, as well as on the HSE website.
Decisions on visitor restrictions are made, implemented and reviewed at hospital level. Such restrictions are necessary to protect the safety of patients, the wellbeing of staff and the operability of hospital services. The overall level of vaccination of the population is a factor in decision making, as well as the levels of vaccination of patients and staff. You can be assured that, in the context of the rapidly evolving situation, visiting restrictions are frequently reviewed.
I would also emphasise that anyone with symptoms indicating that they could possibly have Covid-19 should not visit a hospital.