29 March 2021: A Message from H.E. Ambassador Aidan Cronin
News29 March 2021
A cháirde Gael,
Dear Irish friends,
I hope that you and your families are keeping well.
I know that there is some concern amongst the Irish community here in the UAE arising from the classification by the Irish Government, on the advice of the Irish Public Health authorities, of the UAE as a Category 2 country and the implications of that for those of you who may intend travelling to Ireland.
I thought it would be helpful if I were to update you on the situation.
A number of you have been in touch with the Embassy asking why the UAE is on the list and why fully vaccinated Irish citizens living in the UAE travelling to Ireland should have to have to complete, and pay for, Mandatory Hotel Quarantine. We are in ongoing contact with officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin who are, in turn, in ongoing contact with the relevant officials in the Department of Health, which is responsible for the policy and implementation of Mandatory Health Quarantine. We have conveyed the concerns and questions raised back to Dublin and they are at this stage very much aware of the views of the Irish community in the UAE and of the situation here.
To recap, the Government, on the advice of the Irish Public Health authorities, has taken a series of exceptional temporary measures to reduce non-essential travel both into and out of Ireland. These represent a sustained effort to reduce all non-essential travel to the lowest possible level. One of the measures taken is the requirement that from March 26th travellers must complete Mandatory Hotel Quarantine if they travel to Ireland from any of the designated Category 2 countries.
This measure is designed to ensure that further new variants of concern are not imported, which could set back Ireland’s wider suppression efforts, the focus on keeping the prevalence of the virus at a low level and progress on vaccination. The UAE has been on the list of designated ‘Category 2’ countries since February 12, 2021.
Decisions on the Category 2 list of designated countries are taken by the Minister for Health, advised by the Irish Public Health authorities, and an Expert Advisory Group has been established for that purpose. In adding countries to the list of Category 2 countries, the Expert Advisory Group conducts a detailed risk assessment, which considers a number of factors, including:
- the 14-day incidence rate relative to that in Ireland;
- the actual or potential prevalence of variants of concern and/or variants of interest in different countries; and
- the public health risks posed by the arrival of persons travelling from or via these countries into the State.
The list of Category 2 countries is being kept under review and the health authorities have advised that decisions to add or remove countries from that list will be taken on a regular basis.
You will find on this Embassy’s website https://www.dfa.ie/irish-embassy/uae/news-and-events/news-archive/covid-19-travel-frequently-asked-questions-.html a comprehensive set of COVID 19 FAQs which are regularly updated and which include material on Mandatory Hotel Quarantine.
I hope that this is helpful.
With kind regards