Ireland to scrap hotel quarantine for vaccinated travellers
UAE-based Irish teachers had campaigned for exemptions
Ireland will exempt people inoculated against Covid-19 from having to stay in hotel quarantine on arrival.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the change would be made “in the coming days” after new regulations were signed.
He said those who were inoculated against the disease would still be required 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,” he said.
“Legal regulations will now be required to exempt fully vaccinated people from Mandatory Hotel Quarantine and allow them to complete home quarantine. These regulations will be drafted and signed in the coming days.”
The news will come as welcome relief to Irish residents of the UAE who have been inoculated against Covid-19.
Teachers and other workers in the Emirates had called on the Irish government to make exceptions for people who were fully vaccinated.
The Emirates has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, with more than 94 doses administered per 100,000 people, according to Our World in Data.
Dubai resident Emma Kelly, who was immunised with AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, was released from hotel quarantine on Wednesday after taking legal action in Ireland’s High Court.
The court heard she was meant to be released on Monday, but hotel staff failed to provide a Covid-19 test that would have allowed it.
Her lawyers cited her vaccinated status as one of the arguments for her release.
Ireland’s change of rules came as the European Commission criticised the scheme for curtailing the right to freedom of movement across the bloc for EU citizens.
The 12-day quarantine controls apply to five EU member states – Austria, France, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg.
EU spokesman Christian Wigand said the commission had sought clarification as to why the rules applied to some member states and not others.
“The commission believes that the objective pursued by Ireland, which is the protection of public health during the pandemic, could be achieved by less restrictive measures,” he said.
Updated: April 17, 2021 10:41 PM