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Mandatory hotel quarantine law in Ireland will take effect in March

DUBLIN: A law on mandatory hotel quarantine for travellers to Ireland from countries where travel has been banned will be signed in March. Under the new legislation, adults from high-risk countries will have to pay around €2,000 and children €500 for hotel bills.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly will formulate and submit to the Cabinet the framework for the new legislation. The system is still working but is expected to be signed into law by the first week of March.

People from 20 countries, including Schedule 2 countries South Africa, Brazil and Austria, will face a mandatory hotel quarantine for two weeks, ministers and officials said. They will have to take at least two COVID-19 tests at this time. If all tests are negative, they will be able to leave after two weeks. The law also allows for fines and imprisonment for those who breach the mandatory hotel quarantine. Passengers arriving in Ireland without a negative COVID-19 test certificate and refusing to take the test must face hotel quarantine.

Legislation means that anyone coming from one of the 20 countries on the high-risk list will have to quarantine at the hotel at their own expense. However, the Irish government has not yet clarified whether transit passengers, including Indian travellers arriving in Ireland using transit facilities in the UAE via Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports, will be required to follow hotel quarantine for 14 days.

Hundreds of travellers from India would be in dire straits if the new legislation required hotel quarantine for transit users. Travelling through the UAE will have to be temporarily abandoned.

People from Angola, Austria, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Zambia and Zimbabwe have been added to the list of compulsory self-isolation. Compulsory quarantine was initially imposed only on people from Brazil and South Africa.

The Government has made it clear that there are no exemptions for people coming from these countries. Those arriving from travel-restricted countries must stay for the first 14 days in government-provided accommodation or hotel quarantine. Those arriving in Ireland from these countries must stay alone in a hotel for 14 days. The condition is to book a room in the hotel as soon as you arrive at the airport.

Those arriving from other countries in Ireland must remain in quarantine for at least five days in their homes. They can avoid self-isolation if the virus is negative on subsequent testing.

The Department of Health continues to examine a number of issues related to hotel quarantine legislation, including how passengers will be transported from airports to hotels and who will be responsible for ensuring their quarantine.

Meanwhile, passengers traveling abroad for medical and dental appointments will be required to present a letter from a doctor or dentist in Ireland.

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