Christmas visits home 'would probably be off the agenda' if mandatory hotel quarantine introduced

By Sarah Finnan

January 26, 2021 at 10:14am

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Christmas visits home 'would probably be off the agenda' if mandatory hotel quarantine introduced

Questioned on the possibility of introducing a government-mandated hotel quarantine period for incoming travellers, Leo Varakdar said that it's unlikely measures would be in place any less than a year.

Speaking on Claire Byrne Live last night, the Tánaiste discussed a number of different topics - including the proposed reopening of schools and what would happen should a government-mandated travel quarantine be introduced.

Commenting that there are "three things people really need to know", Varadkar said:

"First of all, for us to do it on our own - as the Republic of Ireland - it would not be fully effective, because of the border... It would be a bit like soup in a sieve. It would slow things down, but it wouldn't be fully effective."

Later giving an estimate on how long such a measure would last should it be brought in, Varakdar said that it's unlikely it would be in place for any less than a year.

"The other thing, and we need to be frank with people about this - if we did it, it would probably be for a year.

"I think once you do a very dramatic public health measure like that, it's hard to reverse and I think we probably wouldn't reverse it until everyone is vaccinated. Then we'd be heading into the winter and we wouldn't want to open up flights before Christmas.

"So people who maybe would like to take a summer holiday in August, people maybe would like to see their relatives this Christmas they haven't seen... that would probably be off the agenda."

Emphasising that "there's only so much we can do", Varadkar said that limited facilities would mean that only 500 to 600 people could be allowed into the country on a daily basis.

"You can only let about 500 or 600 people in a day. So that means even some travel that we now consider essential would not be permitted... we wouldn't be able to guarantee that that travel would be possible. I'm not saying that we're not going to do it, I am saying that we're looking at it."

READ NEXT: A new end date for Level 5 restrictions is being discussed by Government today

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