Irish Heath Minister Stephen Donnelly
By Irish Echo Staff
Another day another tweaking of Covid regulations.
And on one day this week a flight from the United States landed at Dublin airport with no passengers on board.
Ireland's Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, has announced that the online booking portal for the current mandatory hotel quarantine system has reopened with bookings to resume from Saturday.
Minister Donnelly, according to an RTE report, also said the Tifco Hotel Group, which operates the mandatory quarantine system, has expanded the capacity of the system.
There will be an additional 305 rooms, two days ahead of schedule. This will bring the capacity on by Saturday April 17 to 959 rooms.
By Friday April 23 capacity will increase to 1,189 rooms and by Monday April 26 it will increase to 1,607 rooms.
In a statement, Mr. Donnelly also confirmed that fully vaccinated people arriving from countries on the list will shortly be exempted from the system and allowed to quarantine at home.
"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.
"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."
Meanwhile, according to the RTE report, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has said that approximately one hundred people who arrived in Ireland last week from a high-risk country did not have a mandatory hotel quarantine booking.
This was out of 12,000 arrivals into the Republic over the same period.
Mr. Ryan, according to the report, said that roughly fifty of those passengers were coming from a "transfer country, around thirty were passengers who arrived without a PCR test and approximately twenty had arrived directly from a high-risk country without a booking.
Ryan said that the Department of Health was looking at plans to deal with scenarios where quarantine hotels reach capacity.
However, he said that passenger numbers right now are very low, and he hoped such a situation would not arise.
Minister Ryan, added the RTE report, said that five flights from the U.S. arrived in Ireland on Wednesday with just 12 passengers on board.
One flight from the U.S. had no passengers on board.
All passengers coming from the 16 additional countries newly added to the quarantine list - and that includes the U.S. and Canada - will be required to check into designated hotels for up to 12 nights at a cost of almost €2,000 per person.