Thursday, 1 July 2021

Questions (408)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

408. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Health if matters raised by a person (details supplied) in hotel quarantine will be addressed; his views on whether the experience is acceptable; if a survey will be carried out of all persons who have used quarantine hotels to determine if they had similar experiences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28823/21]

View answer

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 and to protect the population when there is a high risk of importation of infection from Covid-19 and from challenges posed by new variants of concern.

The safety, wellbeing and comfort of all guests quarantining in a designated facility (hotel) is a priority of the mandatory hotel quarantine system, along with the ultimate goal of protecting public health by limiting the potential spread of Covid-19, particularly variants of concern. The principles and policies of the system are governed by the Health Act 1947, as amended by the Health (Amendment) Act 2021.

Guests receive an RT-PCR test after entering mandatory hotel quarantine, generally on the following morning after arrival.

In order to protect other guests and onsite teams, guests are only permitted to leave their room for fresh air breaks after receiving a negative (‘not detected’) test result post arrival.

A designated safe and secure space for fresh air breaks is available at each designated facility. For reasons of infection prevention and control, breaks should be booked in advance. The service provider endeavours to accommodate guests at their preferred time.

The period of quarantine is 14 days for guests who are required to enter mandatory hotel quarantine as a result of having travelled from or through a designated state in the previous 14 days. The quarantine period begins on the day of admission to the designated facility.

However, the law provides that a person's obligation to remain in hotel quarantine may be ended, on receipt of a negative (‘not detected’) result following an RT-PCR test taken on day 10 of quarantine. If a person in these circumstances tests positive during quarantine, a further period of quarantine is required.

Test results are generally returned to guests in less than 48 hours, and as of 29 June, 99% of test results are being returned within 24 hours.

All guests undergoing mandatory quarantine in a designated facility are provided with access to a 24/7 on-site healthcare team, who provide daily wellbeing check-in calls, as well as direct engagement as requested and required.

All reasonable efforts are made by both service provider staff and the on-site healthcare team to facilitate a comfortable stay in a designated facility.

If a person believes they are not required to undergo quarantine or believe they should be allowed to leave quarantine early, they may request a review of their quarantine. Requests for review can be based only on a limited number of grounds and public health will remain a paramount consideration. All decisions are taken by independent appeals officers.

In the last week, my Department introduced a guest satisfaction survey, which is sent to guests who have completed their stay in mandatory hotel quarantine. The information gained from this survey will be used to improve on the services provided.

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

More information, including further detail on the services available in mandatory hotel quarantine, can be accessed on www.gov.ie/quarantine.