Mandatory hotel quarantine to continue as ‘long as is considered necessary’

More than 10,000 gone through system with just seven affected countries left on list

The mandatory hotel quarantine (MHQ) system will continue on as “long as is considered necessary”, the Department of Health has said.

The controversial system, which was introduced in March, has seen more than 10,000 visitors to Ireland spend two weeks in supervised hotel quarantine.

The numbers in hotel quarantine have dropped from a high of 2,672 in May to just 929 so far this month.

The numbers were 212 in March (it began on March 26th), 2,062 in April, 2,672 in May, 2,433 in June, 1,888 in July and 929 in August.


Some 1,450 people entered mandatory hotel quarantine after July 19th when restrictions on incoming visitors were eased.

Just seven countries are left on the list, all in South America and none, with the exception of Brazil, attract a large number of visitors to Ireland. The countries are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Ecuador was added to the list on Friday. All visitors from these countries who are not fully vaccinated have to spend two weeks in quarantine.

On Friday, 23 countries were removed from the list. They were Bangladesh, Botswana, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Pakistan, Paraguay, Russia, South Africa, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe.

A Department of Health spokesperson said the Department will “keep the requirement for MHQ under regular review, having regard to the most up-to-date public health advice”.

The number of hotel facilities used for the system will be reduced from eight to three – the Holiday Inn Express in Santry and Crowne Plaza hotels in Santry and Blanchardstown.

Some 3,376 appeals have been made by those in mandatory hotel quarantine and 517 or less than one in six were granted.

Some 159 people have absconded from the system and only 35 returned to the system with the assistance of gardaí.

Another 12 of the 159 have been deemed irregular departures as they were placed in quarantine having not had a negative PCR test done before flying into Ireland.

They tested negative at the hotel, but left before being formally checked out of mandatory hotel quarantine by the State Liaison Officer.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times