By Cate McCurry, PA
The EU Commission said it is in discussions with Irish authorities about lifting its quarantine measures for travellers arriving from EU countries.
Didier Reynders, EU Commissioner for Justice, said the Commission is “closely monitoring” the State’s quarantine rules.
Last month, the Commission wrote a letter to the Government asking it to set out the criteria used to determine which countries go on the quarantine list.
A Commission spokesperson said it had concerns about the system’s “proportionality and non-discrimination”.
Regarding hotel quarantine rules in 🇮🇪, the Commission is closely monitoring the situation. We requested & received information on the criteria on which such measures are based. We are now in discussions with 🇮🇪 authorities to see how the lifting of measures can be facilitated.
— Didier Reynders (@dreynders) May 28, 2021
The State’s quarantine system includes Belgium and France. Other EU countries, including Italy, have been removed from the list.
Mr Reynders tweeted on Friday: “Regarding hotel quarantine rules in [Ireland], the commission is closely monitoring the situation.
“We requested and received information on the criteria on which such measures are based.
“We are now in discussions with authorities to see how the lifting of measures can be facilitated.”
On Thursday, the Dáil debated extending the mandatory hotel quarantine system.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly is seeking to extend the system, which is due to expire on June 8th, until the end of July.
Mandatory hotel quarantine has been operational since March 26th.
Mr Donnelly said that the number of variants of Covid-19 has fallen since then.
He told the Dáil that the system is working, adding that Ireland has the most restrictive quarantine system.
As of May 2th5, a total of 4,400 people have entered mandatory hotel quarantine.
Of these, there have been 173 Covid-19 detected cases, including 163 residents, nine staff and one unaccompanied minor.
Of these cases, 59 variants of concern were detected.
Mr Donnelly said it included 47 cases of the UK variant and 12 cases of the South Africa variant.
A vote on whether to extend mandatory hotel quarantine is to take place next Wednesday.