Covid-19: Over 3,000 people travelled from ‘high-risk’ states in five weeks, data shows
Figures relate to passengers from 33 countries on mandatory hotel quarantine list
Passengers from additional countries including France, Belgium and the United States face mandatory hotel quarantine from Thursday.
More than 3,000 people travelled from countries on the mandatory hotel quarantine list over a five-week period into the start of April, newly released figures suggest.
The figures relate to passengers from 33 countries, including Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa, on the list of so-called designated states deemed to be high risk due to the levels of Covid-19 or its variants.
Passengers from additional countries including France, Belgium and the United States face mandatory hotel quarantine from Thursday, though new bookings won’t be accepted until Monday due to fears over capacity and the need to add extra rooms.
Italy has become the latest EU country to raise concern over its inclusion on the expanded list.
Its embassy in Dublin joined those of France and Belgium in saying it was informed of the measure at short notice.
A spokesman said more detailed data on the medical parameters that formed the basis of the Irish decision would be “welcome” as “we have to be careful to clarify that the adopted measures are fully justified in social and medical terms”.
He said this would avoid the possibility that the Italian community and others might perceive the measure as “discriminatory”.
The spokesman said the issue was already “heavily” affecting the Italian community, citing the “huge number” of messages the embassy is receiving.
He said the new restrictions were going to hit many families “hard”, highlighting “those who have to travel to Italy for urgent needs”.
Separately, figures released to The Irish Times by the Department of Health suggest that 3,091 people travelled from the 33 countries that previously comprised the designated states list in the five weeks from March 1st to April 4th.
As many as 1,306 people travelled from Brazil; 971 travelled from the United Arab Emirates; 329 people came from South Africa; and 485 from other countries on the list including 109 from Argentina and 84 from Austria.
New highly transmissible variants of Covid-19 were first reported in Brazil and South Africa though the variant from the UK remains dominant in Ireland.
The HSE said at the weekend that 19 cases of the Brazilian P1 variant had been confirmed here.
Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said on Tuesday there had been 46 cases of the South African variant in Ireland.
The requirement to quarantine in hotels for people travelling from designated states came into effect on March 26th.
Fall in numbers
The figures provided suggest a significant drop in travellers from these countries in the first full week the system was in operation – March 29th to April 4th.
The numbers from Brazil dropped by almost 70 per cent to 62, down from 201 people travelling the week before.
Travel from the UAE dropped by just over 80 per cent down to 43 from 219 the previous week, and the numbers coming from South Africa dropped by just under 20 per cent from 62 to 50.
The information provided comes from Covid-19 Passenger Locator Forms (PLFs).
The department caveated the data saying it “does not constitute formal arrival data” and is “indicative” of the number of passengers whose journey originated in a designated state or who listed one in recent travel history.
It said certain travellers were exempt from the requirement to fill out a PLF and some people may have filled one out in advance but were unable to travel. It said the data may also include some duplicates for certain travellers. Others may have completed a PLF but continued their journey without staying here overnight or they could have travelled on to Northern Ireland.