Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Questions (657)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

657. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health the reason Israel has been removed from the list of countries required to undergo mandatory hotel quarantine on arrival in Ireland; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the 3.5 million plus Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem who come under the direct control of the Israeli Government have not been given access by Israel to the Covid-19 vaccine; his views on whether that by differentiating between Israelis and Palestinians this leads to further victimisation of Palestinians; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23238/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is applying more stringent measures applying to international travel including mandatory hotel quarantine in order to mitigate against the risk of new variants being imported through travel and to protect the progress we are making in suppressing transmission domestically.

Countries are designated under the Health Act 1947 by the Minister for Health following consultation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and across Government as necessary.

An Expert Advisory Group on Travel to the CMO (EAGT) was established on 1 March 2021 to develop a method of risk assessing countries and to consider broader issues of travel and COVID-19. The Group has developed an approach to risk assessments in keeping with guidance of the WHO and ECDC and which is aligned to the legislative framework in place for mandatory quarantine.

Epidemiological data is reviewed, at a minimum, on a weekly basis. Recommendations for addition to the list of Designated States are made every two weeks, and recommendations for revocation of countries as Designated States are made weekly. The Chief Medical Officer considers these recommendations and in turn makes recommendations to the Minister for Health who forms his own opinion with respect to the designation of individual states.

On April 11, the designation of Israel was revoked under with Section 38E(4) of the Health Act following advice of the CMO to the Minister.