Data on arrivals into State released after question by Róisín Shortall

Passengers from initial 33 designated countries fell from 564 to 194 up to April 4th

More than 400 people arrived into the State from countries eligible for mandatory hotel quarantine in the week before the list was expanded to include a range of EU countries and the US.

Figures compiled from the passenger locator form show that arrivals from the original 33 designated states dropped from 564 to 194 up to April 4th, with the largest contributor to the list being Brazil, from which 62 people flew into the State.

The following week numbers rebounded to 417 – although this was partially driven by the addition of 26 more countries to the list. Among the countries added for which data is available, Nigeria contributed 65 arrivals, the Philippines 45, with 27 people arriving from Qatar.

UAE flights

Over the three-week period covered by the data, which was released following a parliamentary question from Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall, the UAE, which is the only country with direct flights on the list at that stage, contributed the most arrivals, 334, 115 of whom flew in after the mandatory hotel quarantine regime was introduced.

The next biggest contributor was Brazil, with 326, 125 of whom came in after the country was added to the schedule of countries. South Africa saw 152 arrivals over the period, with 132 people arriving from "other" countries on the list where a breakdown was not provided because the number was too small from each state.

It comes as news is awaited on whether any further countries have been added to the mandatory hotel quarantine list. The State’s travel advisory group met on Thursday evening but, on Friday afternoon, no advisory letter had been received by the Minister for Health.

Quarantine system

The travel group reports to the chief medical officer, who in turn advises the Minister for Health on the issue. Ms Shortall said the figures would presumably have significantly increased since the expansion of the list, and that it is “absolutely essential that the Government ensures the hotel quarantine system is fully functioning and able to handle a high number of passengers”.

“We cannot risk any further chaos and confusion about how the system is operating, as happened last week when bookings had to be paused.”

Figures released to The Irish Times on Wednesday by the Department of Health showed there were 886 bookings in the system in April, with 134 rooms reserved in May, and nine in June. On Wednesday, there were 572 adults in designated facilities, and 444 rooms available.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a political reporter with The Irish Times