Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Questions (654)

Róisín Shortall


654. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if a child under the age of 16 years must enter mandatory hotel quarantine if coming into the country from a designated country and accompanied by fully vaccinated parents or guardians; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23218/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Mandatory hotel quarantine has been introduced as one element of Ireland’s public health measures to combat the transmission of COVID-19 variants of concern.

The Health Act 1947, as amended, provides that all persons arriving in Ireland from a designated state, or having travelled through a designated state in the previous 14 days, are required to undergo mandatory quarantine in a designated facility unless they are an exempted traveller under the Act.

Unaccompanied minors who have travelled from or through a designated state in the 14 days prior to arrival in Ireland will not be permitted to enter a mandatory quarantine facility alone.

Their adult guardian can enter mandatory hotel quarantine with them; however, if this is not possible a responsible adult collecting the unaccompanied minor must sign a guardian release letter undertaking in writing the legal responsibility for ensuring that, the unaccompanied minor, will complete the mandatory 14 day quarantine at a specified address and that it is possible to effectively isolate at the said address.

In instances where an unaccompanied minor is arriving in Ireland to attend boarding school, a school representative must present themselves to Irish Immigration authorities with proper identification and on arrival, they will fill in, sign and return the Guardian Release Letter to the Irish immigration official.

Any unaccompanied minor who requires state care will be taken into the care of Túsla and complete their mandatory quarantine at a separate facility.

The Government continues to evaluate wider policy on international travel as informed by the epidemiological situation and public health advice.

In this context, passengers who are fully vaccinated and have the documents to confirm this are no longer required to complete mandatory hotel quarantine on arrival in Ireland. Dependents, including children, will also be exempted from the requirement to complete mandatory hotel quarantine in this instance. Please note that the 4 EMA approved vaccines currently accepted have specific definitions for when a person would be considered fully vaccinated.

Passengers who are fully vaccinated and exempt from hotel quarantine are still subject to other travel restrictions, such as the need to provide a negative pre-departure PCR test and complete a period of self-quarantine at home or at the address specified in their passenger locator form.

Neither I as Minister for Health nor my Department have a role in decisions relating to whether individual persons must enter mandatory quarantine or whether individual persons are exempted travellers. All such decisions are to be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

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