Mandatory hotel quarantine is excessive

 

Sir, – As a European citizen who has been working in the Irish healthcare system for the last 20 years, I am deeply disappointed by the Government’s decision to introduce mandatory hotel quarantine at this point in the pandemic.

The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) “does not support prioritising travel measures over the public health activities needed in the community such as systematic testing, isolation of cases and contact tracing and quarantine of their contacts”.

The HSE Covid-19 report published on April 9th notes for cases notified in the preceding 14 days that 2,203 cases (31.92 per cent) were close contacts with a known confirmed case, 1,232 (17.85 per cent) were community transmissions, 3,272 (47.41 per cent) were under investigation, and 95 (1.38 per cent) were travel related. Although many European countries have introduced travel restrictions and border control, Ireland is the only EU country to introduce mandatory hotel quarantine.

The Irish healthcare system depends heavily on non-Irish healthcare professionals who have been working consistently throughout the last year to deliver healthcare to everybody in need of it. The decision of the Government to insist that fully vaccinated individuals with negative PCR tests have to undergo two-week mandatory hotel quarantine is disproportionate to the infection risk and disrespectful to all non-Irish healthcare workers who have been supporting the healthcare system without access to family support. – Yours, etc,

Prof KIRSTEN

SCHAFFER, MD, FRCPath,

Consultant Microbiologist,

St Vincent’s University

Hospital,

Dublin 4.