Ireland set to add more countries to high-risk list of COVID-19

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DUBLIN, March 25 (Xinhua) — Irish Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Thursday that “a lot more countries” will be added to the government’s list that requires incoming passengers to stay in mandatory hotel quarantine.

Varadkar made the remarks while briefing the members of the lower house of the Irish parliament about the COVID-19 situation in the country, according to RTE, Ireland’s national radio and television broadcaster.

Mandatory hotel quarantine is one of the latest measures taken by the Irish government to battle the COVID-19 pandemic that has so far claimed nearly 4,700 lives in the country since its outbreak in early 2020.

Under the measure, which will take effect at 4 a.m. on Friday (Irish Time), all those who arrive in Ireland from high-risk countries and regions listed by the Irish government will have to face a 14-day quarantine at a designated hotel at the cost of their own for accommodation and food.

Currently, a total of 33 countries and regions, mostly from Africa and South America, are placed on the high-risk list.

Diplomats, aircrew and marine crew are among those who can be exempted from such a quarantine so long they can meet the other public health requirements of Ireland, according to a guidance issued on the Irish government’s website.

The high-risk list, which can be found on the various websites of Irish authorities including the Department of Foreign Affairs, is subject to change at short notice, said the guidance, adding that those who come from high-risk areas will have to pre-book their rooms at government-designated quarantine hotels and pre-pay for their stay.

Violators of mandatory hotel quarantine rules could face a fine of 2,000 euros (2,355 U.S. dollars) or one-month sentence of imprisonment, or both, according to local media reports.

The Irish Department of Health on Thursday reported another 606 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, bringing the total number of such cases to 232,758.

To date, 4,631 people in Ireland had died from the virus, said the department in a statement.

The statement also said that as of March 22, a total of 690,449 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in Ireland and over 186,000 people had been fully vaccinated, accounting for about 4 percent of the country’s population.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in an increasing number of countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 267 candidate vaccines are still being developed — 83 of them in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on March 23. Enditem

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