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Half-baked quarantine plans will be of little benefit – Darren O’Rourke TD

23 January, 2021 - by Darren O Rourke TD

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, today responded to reports that the Government is only planning to introduce mandatory quarantine for those who arrive here without a pre-departure Covid test.

Teachta O’Rourke said:

“The reported plans to limit mandatory quarantine only to those arriving here without a pre-departure test is simply not good enough. It will not address the weaknesses in our Covid defences when it comes to international arrivals.

“First and foremost, people should not be permitted entry to the state without a negative pre-departure test in the first place. They should not be permitted to board a plane.

“The Government proposal is pathetic. It continues to completely ignore the fact that, as stated by NPHET, a single negative Covid test can miss up to 40% of cases. Sinn Féin have consistently called for the introduction of mandatory testing post-arrival to address this.

"Worse still, the Government proposal does nothing to address the lack of adherence to self-isolation/quarantine advice. This is a fundamental weakness in our regime which, if not addressed, will render all other measures meaningless.

"These glaring holes in our Covid defences must be addressed.   

“Given the dire situation, severe travel restrictions for international arrivals are needed. This will cause disruption and difficulties, which of course is regrettable, but it is for the greater good. 

“The country’s health system is on the brink. Our frontline workers and the public as a whole have made huge sacrifices. It is an insult to them that the current lax regime continues.

“We need mandatory testing, pre-departure and post-arrival, and a mandatory quarantine regime. While Government seem resistant to the idea of mandatory quarantine at designated facilities for all incoming passengers they have presented no assessment of this option. They have also presented no alternative. That's certainly the case with their latest proposal. 

“NPHET’s advice has been clear. In the past they have said mandatory quarantine should be introduced. In their most recent advice they say that all discretionary elements should be removed, with particular mention of testing and quarantine. It is simply unacceptable that the Government is again ignoring this advice.

“A half-baked plan to quarantine only a portion of international arrivals will not work.” 

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