Mandatory hotel quarantine – out of step?
Sir, – Representatives of Ibec and Aer Lingus have recently made the point that our mandatory quarantine means we are “out of step” with the rest of Europe. Given that the EU countries on our quarantine list now have serious Covid numbers, given that they have serious variants, given that France has just generated its own variant, and given that all of this has happened because the countries concerned failed to impose sufficient restrictions to control the spread of Covid, and above all failed to impose appropriate travel restrictions, perhaps it’s no bad thing that we are “out of step” with other EU countries. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – While the Border with the North remains open, sealing our airports serves only to reassure anxious members of the public that “everything is being done”, while unfairly targeting those of us who are immigrants to this country or have a family network abroad.
Irish citizens or residents who are confirmed to be infected with Covid, of any variant, are currently not forcibly detained in hotels for 14 days, or at risk of arrest and criminal prosecution if they leave their homes. However, arrivals from abroad with negative PCR tests, and in some cases even with fully vaccinated status, are presumed infected and are detained for 12 days. Where is the proportionality here?
Another feature of concern is the Government’s attempts to outsource immigration decisions to airlines, who are requested to deny boarding to passengers without a long list of required documentation. This is not the responsibility nor expertise of airline staff and risks abuse or inconsistent decision making.
I have had the “privilege” of being a recent traveller to visit my dying father in Sweden, on a flight and through airports notable for the complete lack of merry holidaymakers. Luckily, my journey was uneventful.
My sisters attempted to travel from the UK to Sweden on the day after my father’s death and were denied boarding as they did not have a death certificate – the hospital letter outlining his palliative status was deemed insufficient reason for travel by airline staff. A subsequent flight was booked, death certificate duly presented, which was then rejected for being in Swedish and the hospital letter accepted instead.
The decision for admitting a passenger to any country, including Ireland, should be the sole decision of qualified and trained immigration officials in that country. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Is anyone else concerned that in a city full of empty hotel rooms, our Department of Health appears to yet again to have a problem finding beds? – Is mise,
Sir, – Our renowned welcome for visitors to our island has been replaced, it seems, in our airport baggage halls, by the presence of Army personnel waiting to escort people to confinement in hotels. Some of these visitors are fully vaccinated against Covid and have come from countries, including some EU states. This is the same EU that stood by us as we battled the worst elements of Brexit. As the president of the European Commission telephoned our Taoiseach to inform us about extra procurement of vaccines, we reciprocated by barring some of our fellow EU citizens from direct entry to a country with a porous border. – Yours, etc,