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Passengers who do not have a negative PCR test may face mandatory quarantine and fines

DUBLIN: The government is considering stricter travel restrictions, including the imposition of a mandatory quarantine for travelers arriving in Ireland without a negative PCR verification certificate.

For those coming to Ireland from anywhere in the world, the COVID negative PCR test from the previous 72 hours is being considered for enforcement from this month. Mandatory quarantine may be considered for those who do not present such a certificate and for travellers from certain areas who are considered to be at high risk due to the presence of the new virus. Any passenger traveling without a PCR test result will be fined €1,000 or detention of one month.

The Irish and British governments had discussed the possibility of a policy approach involving both countries regarding incoming flights. “We are looking at restrictions on travel, further restrictions on travel. For example the prospect of suspending visa-free travel for some countries is under active consideration now. There’s a team of officials working up a range of proposals for that Cabinet COVID committee on Monday,” the Taoiseach said.

Boundary relations with the UK and Northern Ireland, as well as the European economy, complicate the restrictions. “Obviously there are complications as there always has been because of our relationship with the United Kingdom, with the border, with the North, and also the fact that we’re integrated into the European economic system. I suppose, it’s more easy to call for a quarantine than to deliver it comprehensively,” Taoiseach added.

At the same time, government sources say that the imposition of compulsory quarantine on people arriving without a negative PCR test will only affect a small section of the population. Of the 1,074 passengers who arrived at Dublin Airport yesterday, only one person did not have a negative PCR test. Of the 928 people who arrived at the airport on Wednesday, eight did not have a negative PCR.

Leo Varadkar with a different voice

All political parties have come out in support of the compulsory quarantine. Meanwhile, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has raised his voice against the mandatory quarantine. He accused the system of being impractical and disproportionate. The Tánaiste said the compulsory system in Ireland could only be done if the UK adopted the same system.

Meanwhile, Micheal Martin said he had spoken to Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the possibilities for a two-island solution. “The Northern Executive would have a different perspective on flights from Great Britain into Northern Ireland, and that is problematic. That creates an obvious issue. We’re not in a position to seal the entire border, there’s never been a policy position to seal the entire island either. So therefore the two-island context is one that could be pursued,” he said.

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