People Arriving Into Ireland May Face Fines Or Imprisonment For Failing To Self-Isolate

People traveling into Ireland may face fines or imprisonment if they fail to isolate for two weeks under plans being considered by government.

Passengers who arrive into the country without a negative PCR test will have to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks, likely at their own expense.

It comes as new figures suggest people from Clare have done better than most in terms of abiding by the latest round of COVID-19 restrictions.

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The cabinet sub-committee on COVID will meet later to discuss more strict rules on international travel.

This will likely include mandatory two week quarantine for anyone arriving without a negative PCR test, or for anyone coming from Brazil, South Africa or other countries where there’s concern about new strains of the virus.

For everyone else they will be expected to isolate wherever they are staying as per current guidelines.

But there’s likely to be a clampdown with possible unannounced spot checks by gardaí who will have the power to fine or imprison people for breaches.

Some exceptions are being looked at for people traveling back to Ireland on compassionate grounds.

Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shortall believes that doesn’t go far enough, and says a new approach to tackling COVID is needed.

Contact with the governments in Belfast and London is ongoing about an all-island or two-island quarantine solution, but both are in very early stages.

The cabinet sub-committee is also likely to approve extending level 5 restrictions by 4 weeks until the end of February.

The re-opening of schools will also be discussed with Education Minister Norma Foley briefing government party leaders, though it’s unlikely a decision will be taken today.

Meanwhile, as the focus nationally is on travel, new figures show people in Clare have been sticking with the lockdown restrictions.

The CSO’s latest mobility report, which is based on surveys, provide estimates on how many people stay within 10km of their home each week and shows that, in the week up to January 15th, that there appears to have been a general relaxation of behaviour.

However, in Clare there was only a marginal fall of 0.2% in the number of people who ventured away from their homes.

That week, 58.6% of people here stayed local, and while this is eight points less than the national average, the rates of people staying local are greatly increased in urban areas.