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“I Make No Apology” – Stephen Donnelly Defends Hotel Quarantine System

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Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has jumped to the defence of Ireland’s Hotel Quarantine System, following recent criticism from the Italian Ambassador and the European Commission.

“What’s fundamental is that we protect the people living in this country from Covid and from variants and I make no apologies to the Commission, to the Italian ambassador or anybody else for putting in place the measures that we believe and our public health teams believe in”, Donnelly said.

Donnelly was also asked would the mandatory quarantine system be altered. This comes after it was criticised by the Italian ambassador for including Italy on the list.

Donnelly said this. “The system is in place and the system is doing exactly what we need it to do”. 

He also added,  “the Commission is perfectly entitled to believe what it wants”. 

The European Commission “raised concerns” over Ireland’s extention of Mandatory Hotel Quarantine to key member states. These countries include, The USA, Turkey, France and Italy.

Officials in Brussels confirmed that Commission were unsure if the new rules were “in line with EU law and whether they are proportionate and fair”.This also comes after the Italian Ambassador in Dublin expressed public criticism.

Paulo Serpi posted a message on YouTube, branding Ireland’s Mandatory Quarantine as “selective and discriminatory”. 

An Irish Government Official also defended the hotel quarantine. They said, “We kept the EU informed about our plans at every stage. The various EU member state embassies were also advised and briefed in advance about our plans”.

“A rapid review to be conducted”

This also comes after it was announced that fully vaccinated people will not have to enter quarantine.

Donnelly was unsure when that will officially take effect, but added that it would happen “shortly”.

“The Government decision last week was for a rapid review to be conducted. I have now received advice from the Acting Chief Medical Officer, which I have accepted”. 

He also said in his statement. “Legal regulations will now be required to exempt fully vaccinated people from Mandatory Hotel Quarantine and allow them complete home quarantine”.

“These regulations will be drafted and signed in the coming days”.

Donnelly on the Booking Portal

Stephen Donnelly confirmed that the Booking Portal for people looking for mandatory quarantine will re-open on April 17.

It had been suspended on Wednesday as the Government needed time to review capacity.

The Health Minister also confirmed that capacity will be increased at the Tifco Hotel Group. They will add 305 rooms and will be ready to take bookings from this Saturday.

This will eventually help to increase the amount of rooms available to 1,189 rooms by April 23. It will increase to 1,607 rooms by Monday April 26.

Donnelly said, “I am very grateful to those that have entered mandatory quarantine and for playing their part to stop the spread of this disease”.

“Mandatory hotel quarantine is a very important public health measure and ensures we continue to have the strongest border biosecurity measures in Europe”.

“I would like to extend my particular thanks to the Tifco Hotel Group and their staff for stepping up capacity so quickly and for their commitment to ensuring the comfort and security of those required to enter mandatory hotel quarantine”.