The Irish people deserve competence and efficiency from their government at a time of national crisis. Instead, they have chaos and confusion.
The government’s mandatory quarantine system has descended into chaos less than three weeks after it was set up, according to Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall.
“Last night, the government’s mandatory quarantine system had to pause bookings as it ran out of hotel capacity – just 18 days after it was set up. Given there are nearly 150,000 hotel rooms in Ireland, most of which are empty, it beggars belief the government is unable to find additional capacity.
“Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has now said the system will be unable to accept bookings until Monday, when 300 additional rooms will become available. Given passengers from an additional 16 countries will be entering mandatory quarantine from tomorrow, can he give any guarantee that this paltry figure will be enough? Has the government done any modelling to gauge the projected demand for these rooms?
“There is also confusion surrounding the metrics the government is using to determine entry to mandatory quarantine. On Monday, Minister Donnelly stated the primary metric determining entry to mandatory quarantine, for EU countries, is variants of concern. However, there are differing capacities to investigate variants across Europe – with some countries having very low levels of covid surveillance, meaning they are unlikely to detect variants. Given there is no uniform capacity to detect variants across the EU, it is difficult to understand why variants, rather than incidence rate, is the government’s primary metric. This needs to be explained. It is important that the system is transparent so that the public retains confidence in it.
“Nphet first recommended mandatory quarantine in May 2020 and the government, belatedly, began preparing for its introduction at the start of the year. Despite all of this time to plan, the system has fallen apart less than three weeks after it was set up. At a basic level, the government can’t even provide hotel rooms for passengers while there is confusion regarding the criteria being used to determine entry, and exit, of countries to the mandatory quarantine system.
“The Irish people deserve competence and efficiency from their government at a time of national crisis. Instead, they have chaos and confusion.
14 April, 2021