Covid-19: Ireland removes three countries from hotel quarantine list

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image captionThe Irish Defence Forces are overseeing the process

Three countries have been removed from the Republic of Ireland's mandatory hotel quarantine list.

Irish health minister Stephen Donnelly has revoked the current designations for Albania, Israel and St Lucia.

However, travellers are still obliged to quarantine at home for 14 days, unless they obtained a "not detected" PCR test on day five after arrival.

Mr Donnelly said the three countries had experienced "a substantially improved epidemiological situation".

He added that in the coming days, he intends to designate a number of additional states, "so as to ensure that Ireland is protected as far as possible from importation of variants of concern, which pose a significant risk to our fight against this disease".

The United States of America, Canada, France, Belgium and Italy are among 16 countries to be added to the list.

From next week, travellers from these places must spend 12 nights and pay at least €1,875 (£1,614) to stay at one of 24 hotels across the Republic.

The measure will come into effect from 04:00 local time on 15 April.

Mandatory hotel quarantine for some international travellers has been in place since 26 March.

At a meeting on Friday night, Irish government ministers discussed concerns over Covid-19 variants.

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The Irish government has a portal for mandatory hotel quarantine bookings. Pre-booking is necessary.

The Tifco Hotel Group is responsible for transporting passengers from their arrival point to the quarantine hotels, and security.

The Irish Defence Forces oversee the process and escort the buses to the hotels.

The cost of a 12-night stay is €1,875 (£1,614) for one person, €625 (£535) for another adult (or child aged over 12) sharing the room, €360 (£308) for a child aged 4 to 12, with no charge for infants.

Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to €2,000 (£1,700) or a month in prison.

Which countries are high risk?

The new rules affect any passenger who was in one of the designated "high-risk" countries in the past 14 days, including those getting a connecting flight.

It also affects people who do not have a negative PCR test taken in the 72 hours prior to their arrival.

The "high-risk" list is subject to change at any time.

Other countries include: Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Lesotho, Malawi, Eswatini, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Suriname, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Countries added to the list on Friday are: Bangladesh, Belgium, France, Italy, Kenya, Luxembourg, Pakistan, Turkey, the USA, Canada, Armenia, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Curaçao, Maldives, Ukraine.

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