Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (857)

Joe Flaherty


857. Deputy Joe Flaherty asked the Minister for Health if there are provisions to facilitate parents who have to accompany a child on a flight to the UK in the context of Covid-19 restrictions and polymerase chain reaction, PCR, test requirements (details supplied). [6987/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The risks posed by new variants of concern have necessitated the adoption of more stringent travel measures to mitigate against importation of these variants.

S.I. No. 29 of 2021 along with S.I. No. 30 of 2021 (Fixed Penalty Notice Regulations) were signed on Friday 29 January last. These Regulations give effect to Government decisions of 26 January 2021 by providing for the extension of the current public health restrictions to 5th March 2021 and that a person whose place of residence is in the State shall not leave it to go to an airport or port for the purposes of leaving the State without reasonable excuse.

Reasonable excuses for travel to an airport or port for purpose of leaving the State include:

- To attend, for educational reasons a primary or secondary school, or a university, higher education institution or other education and training facility, to the extent that it is necessary for such educational reasons to attend in person

- To accompany any other person residing with the person, or a vulnerable person, to one of the education facilities mentioned above.

Since the 16th January it has been a requirement for passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas to present a COVID-19 passenger locator form and evidence of a negative pre-departure RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel upon boarding and to border officials upon arrival. In circumstances where the stay abroad is less than 72 hours, the test can be taken prior to departure.

All arrivals from overseas, with limited exemptions are required to complete mandatory home quarantine upon returning to Ireland. A second ‘non-detected’ PCR test result taken no less than 5 days after arrival can end the quarantine period.

My Department is giving continuing consideration to the operation of these regulations.