Woman who flew to Ireland from Dubai to be released from quarantine pending negative Covid test

Irish government considers exempting vaccinated people from Covid hotel quarantine

Emma Kelly took her case to Dublin's High Court. Alamy 
Emma Kelly took her case to Dublin's High Court. Alamy 

A woman who flew to Ireland from Dubai could be released from hotel quarantine on Tuesday after taking legal action.

Emma Kelly, who has been in quarantine since April 3 after arriving in Dublin from the UAE, on Monday night lodged a “profoundly urgent” application to the High Court to be released from the Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel to care for her mother while her father has surgery for cancer.

The case came as the Irish government said it was considering exempting people inoculated against Covid-19 from hotel quarantine.

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said it was his “very firm view” that people who have received two vaccinations should not be required to stay in a hotel.

Ireland's Health Protection Surveillance Centre was understood to be reviewing the matter before a decision is made in two to three weeks.

There have been a number of legal challenges to hotel quarantine in recent weeks.

In Ms Kelly's case, she was due to be released on Monday but the court heard there had been a problem with testing.

Her solicitor, Michael French, said hotel staff were supposed to test her for Covid-19 ahead of her release date but had failed to do so, The Irish Times reported.

Three requests for a review of her mandatory quarantine were denied, the court heard.

But Justice Brian O’Moore said Ms Kelly could be released later on Tuesday if her Covid-19 test result came back negative.

The court heard Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly directed lab workers to expedite analysis of Ms Kelly's test result.

Mr French said his client's vaccination status, her negative test results, her father’s medical condition and a letter from a doctor outlining the extent of her anxiety and panic attacks provided “strong humanitarian” grounds for her early release.

The judge acknowledged Ms Kelly had been subject to a form of detention but declined to order a formal inquiry.

The appeal is the latest legal challenge to Ireland’s 14-day hotel quarantine after two fully vaccinated passengers from Israel were released early on Sunday while their case was ongoing.

A separate appeal was also lodged by two women who visited Dubai for cosmetic surgery but said they could not afford hotel quarantine in Ireland.

Updated: April 13, 2021 07:25 PM

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