Digital Desk Staff
The Government is now expected to introduce more restrictions from next week, given the rise of a new Covid variant, the Minister for Finance has indicated.
Paschal Donohoe has said hotel quarantine measures could be signed off on as early as today and further measures are likely to be discussed at a full Cabinet meeting next Tuesday.
As the Irish Examiner reports, Mr Donohoe warned that community transmission of the virus is currently "high" which he said means the starting position for dealing with any new variant is "not what we wish it to be".
"I think, given what has happened with this variant, there certainly will be (more restrictions), as we move into Cabinet next Tuesday, the possibility of needing to take further decisions," he said.
Mr Donohoe, speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne show, said the Government will be making a decision on reintroducing hotel quarantine for those coming from South Africa and other countries where the new variant has been found "imminently".
"Every hour, every day does matter. And that's why a decision on this will happen very quickly."
However, he said any form of hotel quarantine would be "very different in scope and scale" and would be limited to a small number of countries.
"If there is a need to meet today that will quickly be implemented. This is the kind of decision that if it does require a full Cabinet decision can be done incorporeally, and that will happen quickly," Mr Donohoe said.
"I believe, and anticipate that we will need to make changes," he said, adding that any Irish people currently in impacted countries will have to be considered.
Any reintroduction of hotel quarantining will require legislation, but he hopes the Dáil would act very quickly on this.
"We are reminded and confronted to yet again, with a virus that is ever-changing. But what will not change is the ability of our country to get through this challenge and get to a better place," he said.