Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has stated that mandatory hotel quarantine may return as a result of the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant from South Africa.
While speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, McEntee stated that although we are still learning about the new variant, “the early indications would show that this is potentially more transmissible and potentially more able to evade the vaccination”.
“If we need to move quickly here – be it with the introduction of hotel quarantine – then I think that’s something we need to do”.
This comes following an announcement from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that travel from South Africa could be stopped to prevent the spread of the virus.
A decision in relation to halting flights from South Africa is to be made later today, according to Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.
Coveney stated that the issue is being consulted by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Health, European Commission and the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan.
HSE chief Paul Reid described the variant as an “obvious cause for concern” and that the World Health Organisation (WHO) was meeting with South African authorities.
He added that the situation was being monitored by the HSE and the Department of Health.