Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

16.23 3 Mar 2021


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Ireland should consider mandatory quarantine for people arriving from all countries, a WHO expert says.

Dr David Nabarro says it could be 'embarrassing' if people travelled here from a 'red-listed' country via another country that isn't on the mandatory quarantine list.

Hotel quarantine is set to be brought in here in the coming weeks, after the legislation was passed in the Dáil and Seanad.

President Michael D Higgins is expected to sign it into law in the next few days, but the rules will only apply to 33 countries.

People arriving from those countries must self-quarantine for a full 14 days, while those arriving from other countries can stop quarantining sooner if they receive a negative PCR test result five days after their arrival here.

Dr David Nabarro, the WHO's special envoy on COVID-19, told Newstalk mandatory quarantine is an important measure as the virus may not be detectable when a swab test is done before travel.

He said: "The question is whether you do it for just 30 countries or for all countries?

"That’s a political decision, but how do you know whether or not somebody has moved from a country where there is perhaps a variant, then gone to another country [that’s not on the red list], and then they’ve come to Ireland? Well, you can be a bit embarrassed.

“Part of me would say if you’re going to quarantine on arrival, you should be thinking about perhaps making it a universal thing with only a small number of exceptions for people who really can show they are virus free.”

He said it's vital the country remains vigilance, as variants could still 'slip in' even if there are 'fabulous border controls' in effect.

Meanwhile, it's also been suggested that passengers arriving here should have to provide samples that can be tested for COVID-19 variants.

The idea for a broader approach to genomic testing was raised by a number of NPHET members at its meeting on January 28th.

Main image: File photo of Dublin Airport. Picture by: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

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