I propose to take Questions Nos. 633 and 679 together.
The Government has actively responded to the risks posed by the evolving epidemiological international situation, including the variants of concern originating in Great Britain, South Africa and Brazil.
In order to mitigate the risks posed by the new variants of concern, Ireland has moved to a mandatory quarantine regime, with an incorporated testing regime, which involves enforcement measures and penal provisions. Travellers arriving from overseas, including international travellers who arrive via Northern Ireland, are required to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form and provide evidence of a negative pre-departure RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel upon arrival.
Arriving passengers, with limited exemptions, are required to quarantine for 14 days at the address given on their Passenger Locator Form. A negative or ‘not-detected’ result from a PCR test taken no less than 5 days after arrival can end the quarantine period.
The current list of ‘Category 2 countries’ now includes 20 states and those who arrive from these countries are subject to stricter quarantine requirements. Arrivals from these countries do not have the option to end quarantine early if they test negative.
The operationalisation of designated quarantine facilities is being advanced on a cross-departmental basis as a matter of priority, including the drafting of primary legislation to provide for these facilities.
The Government is closely monitoring the international epidemiological situation and giving close consideration to travel policy based on public health advice.