Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (72, 91, 92, 96, 98)

Neale Richmond

Question:

72. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Transport the measures in place to limit or curtail travel from South Africa, given the strain of Covid-19 detected there; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2252/21]

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Peadar Tóibín

Question:

91. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Transport the reason for the decision not to impose mandatory quarantine or isolation for travellers coming to Ireland. [2557/21]

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Peadar Tóibín

Question:

92. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Transport the reason there is no mandatory test in Ireland for travellers from the UK or South Africa. [2559/21]

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Neale Richmond

Question:

96. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Transport if he will implement a mandatory requirement for a negative PCR test to be taken 72 hours prior to entry into Ireland as per the EU traffic lights approach to travel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2584/21]

View answer

Neale Richmond

Question:

98. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Transport the penalty for those who do not show a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to entry into Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2586/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 72, 91, 92, 96 and 98 together.

The Government continues to advise against non-essential international travel and that essential travel is undertaken with due regard to public health safety measures.

In the case of Great Britain and South Africa, flight bans were introduced for the first time with effect from 1 December in response to the emergence of a new strain of COVID 19. They were replaced by requirement from 9 of January for passengers originating from Great Britain or South Africa and arriving into Ireland have been required to have evidence of a negative or “not detected” result of a Covid-19 PCR test obtained within 72 hours of arrival into Ireland.

Arising from the deteriorating epidemiological situation and the concern at the implications of increased transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 via the emergence of new variants, the Government extended this requirement to all regions with effect from 16 January. The test must be taken within 72 hours of arrival to Ireland.

Exemptions include international transport workers- including hauliers, pilots and aviation crew, masters and maritime crew; passengers in transit, members of An Garda Síochána, and Children aged six and under.

Passengers will be asked to present evidence of their negative/‘not detected’ RT-PCR test result before boarding, and will be denied boarding if they cannot produce such evidence, unless they claim to be among the exempt categories.

Passengers who arrive in an Irish Airport or Sea Port without the required evidence will commit an offence and may be subject to prosecution resulting potentially in a fine not exceeding €2,500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both.

In line with the EU Traffic Light system on arrival, passengers from ECDC red/grey locations and other locations are advised to restrict their movements for 14 days, but may release themselves from the advice to restrict their movements if they have a second negative result from a RT-PCR test taken no less than 5 days post arrival. This approach to post-arrival testing does not apply to travel from Great Britain, South Africa or South America who are advised to complete the entire 14 day period of self-isolation.

Arrivals from green and orange countries (as defined by the EU traffic light system) will not be required to restrict their movements on arrival but are to adhere to the local public health guidance.

The Government is keeping all measures relating to international travel under review.