Ireland is considering restarting its mandatory hotel quarantine regime after it told residents to avoid non-essential travel to seven southern African countries due to concerns over a new COVID-19 variant, its health minister said.
While Ireland has no direct flights to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, it urged all Irish residents there to return as soon as possible and quarantine at home for 10 days upon their arrival.
“I’ve had advice from the chief medical officer to say it (mandatory hotel quarantine) is something we should consider,” Stephen Donnelly told national broadcaster RTE, saying he would bring legislation before parliament early next week to enable the regime to resume after it was stood down in late September.
Yesterday the Department of Health announced measures to mitigate against Omicron, including mandatory home quarantine regardless of vaccine status.
Visa requirements have been updated and the advisory to avoid non-essential travel has been applied to those countries concerned, including Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Returning Irish residents will be required to undergo strict home quarantine regardless of vaccine, recovery, or test status, and must undergo PCR testing during quarantine.
The Department of Health has been notified of 3,735 new cases of Covid-19.
There are 566 patients with Covid in hospitals, up 30 since yesterday. Of those in hospital, there are 117 patients receiving treatment in intensive care units, a decrease of one from yesterday.
Photo – A woman wearing a face mask looks out of a window of a tram in Dublin City, Ireland. EPA-EFE/AIDAN CRAWLEY