Mon, 06 Jul 2020

Tourists to Ireland who flaunt rules could be jailed

Conor Trindle
29 May 2020, 02:33 GMT+10

DUBLIN, Ireland - Ireland is to monitor the whereabouts of everyone entering the country.

Commencing Thursday all overseas visitors to Ireland will be required to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form. This is in addition to having to self-isolate for 14 days.

Under the new regulations, signed off by Health Minister Simon Harris, anyone failing to complete form will be committing an offence, punishable by a fine not exceeding €2,500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or both.

Visitors will be required to provide an address where they will be staying in Ireland as well as personal contact details.

The forms can be used to conduct follow-up checks to make sure people who travel to Ireland are staying where they said they would. More importantly, they can be used by contact tracing teams to contact people should there be a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 of a flight or ferry that they came to Ireland on.

People arriving from Northern Ireland, working in defined essential supply chain roles, foreign diplomats and passengers who are transiting through the country without leaving the port or airport will be exempted. People travelling onwards to Northern Ireland immediately will have to complete part of the form.

Government guidelines requiring visitors to self-isolate for a period of 14 days remain in force.

"This is a temporary measure that is being introduced in a time of a public health crisis. The people of Ireland have managed to suppress COVID-19 in our communities, and through their actions are enabling the resumption of social and economic life," Minister for Health Simon Harris said Thursday,

"The Government is concerned that as we move towards the easing of measures, the risk of importing new cases through non-essential travel increases. The introduction of these rules is aimed to limit this risk."

"We continue to advise Irish citizens and residents against all non-essential international travel, and passengers arriving into Ireland from overseas are asked to self-isolate for 14 days," Harris said.

"Like all other measures we've introduced during this public health crisis, the purpose of these regulations to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to protect people from this virus."

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Tourism to Ireland has all but collapsed with figures released on Thursday showing that the number of arrivals in April dropped by 99% compared to last year.

(File photo).

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