The purpose of the Health (Amendment) Act 2021 is
- to provide for the mandatory quarantine of persons coming into the State from certain areas from where there is known to be sustained human transmission of Covid-19 or any variant of concern, or from which there is a high risk of importation of infection or contamination with Covid-19 or any variant of concern by travel from that area;
- to provide for the designation of such areas by the Minister;
- to provide for the mandatory quarantine of persons coming into the State who fail to comply with certain requirements relating to testing for the disease;
- to provide for the designation of facilities for such quarantine;
- to provide for the conveying of persons to those facilities; to provide for the making of service agreements to facilitate such quarantine;
- to provide for alternatives to such quarantine for persons coming into the State where such persons indicate an intention to apply for international protection or where such persons are children who are not accompanied by an adult; and to
An applicable traveller is one who arrives in the State having been in a designated state at any time within the period of 14 days prior to such arrival, or arrives in the State having been in a ‘non-designated state’ at any time within 14 days prior to such arrival and who arrives without the result of a RT-PCR test in accordance with the requirements of any regulations.
This does not apply to an exempted traveller, which term includes a driver of a heavy goods vehicle, and an aircraft pilot, other aircrew, maritime master or maritime crew who arrives in the State in the course of performing his or her duties. An applicable traveller who been in a designated state at any time within a 14 day period prior to arrival in the State may be required to quarantine at a designated facility for a period of 14 days beginning on the day the person is admitted to a designated facility. This covers various quarantine scenarios, e.g., where an applicable traveller takes a RT-PCR test at any time during the 14 day period and the result of that test is that Covid-19 or the virus SARS-CoV-2 is detected. Section 38G provides that the Minister may make regulation in relation to these matters. For the purposes of calculating a period of quarantine, a reference to a day is a reference to the full 24 hour period of a day.
Where an applicable traveller is required to remain in a designated facility for a period of less than 14 days from the date of his or her arrival in the State, he or she shall, in respect of the remaining period of the 14 days concerned, be subject to obligations to self-quarantine in any regulations made under the Act of 1947 which apply to persons arriving in the State from a non-designated state.
An applicable traveller shall, prior to his or her arrival in the State, book a place in a designated facility. Where the applicable traveller arrives in the State at a port or an airport he or she is to present himself or herself to a relevant person, an approved person or a member of the Garda Síochána prior to presenting at the booked designated facility. “
Where the applicable traveller does not arrive in the State at a port or airport, he or she is to present at the booked designated facility as soon as practicable but in any event no later than 4 hours after such arrival. A person shall be guilty of an offence where he or she, without reasonable excuse, fails to book a place in a designated facility prior to arrival in the State and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month, or both (see section 38D).
An applicable traveller who arrives in the State having been in a ‘non-designated state’ at any time within the period of 14 days prior to such arrival, and who arrives without the result of a RT- PCR test shall, as soon as practicable after his or her arrival in the designated facility be assessed by a medical practitioner and, where that practitioner is satisfied, having regard to all the circumstances, that the person can effectively isolate in his or her place of residence, be discharged. If the medical practitioner is not so satisfied, the applicable traveller will remain in quarantine for the remainder of the 10 day period.
Where an applicable traveller fails or refuses to comply a relevant person, on producing his or her warrant of appointment for inspection by the applicable traveller, or a member of the Garda Síochána shall detain that applicable traveller for the purposes of arranging for an approved person to take, the applicable traveller to a designated facility.
A relevant person, approved person or member of the Garda Síochána shall, when an applicable traveller presents him or herself or is detained have the power to convey the applicable traveller and any dependent person to a designated facility. Provision also made for the applicable traveller to be furnished with a written notice of the rights and obligations which apply in relation to such quarantine, etc., and to be advised of his or her right to make a request for review and the purposes for which he or she may leave a designated facility.
A dependant person to accompany the applicable traveller to the designated facility concerned and remain at that facility for the duration the applicable traveller is required to remain at the facility. However, applicable traveller concerned may, on arrival at the designated facility or at any time thereafter, seek an assessment of the dependent person by a medical practitioner on the basis that it is inappropriate, having regard to any special needs or circumstances pertaining to the dependent person, that he or she remains in quarantine, and, where the medical practitioner agrees that it is inappropriate, the dependent person shall no longer be obliged to remain in quarantine where the responsible person s satisfied that suitable, specified, arrangements can be put in place for another person in the State to look after the dependant person.A dependant person is defined.
The dependant person concerned is subject to the self-quarantine obligations in any regulations applicable to persons arriving in the State from a non- designated state and that time in quarantine in a designated facility counts towards the satisfaction of such obligation.
Where a person wishes to make an application for international protection (refugee etc. status) them in the circumstances set out, the requirement to quarantine at a designated facility shall be deemed to be satisfied, e.g., where the applicable traveller consents to effectively isolate (including obligations to self-quarantine in any regulations made under this Act applicable to persons arriving in the State from a non-designated state) in accommodation arranged by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.
In the case of an uaccompanied child who has, on arrival, given an indication of any of the matters referred to in f the International Protection Act 2015 the requirement to quarantine at a designated facility is satisfied where he or she can effectively isolate in accommodation arranged by the Child and Family Agency.
Where an applicable traveller is a child who is not accompanied by an adult who is taking responsibility for his or her care and protection, an option is for a responsible adult to accompany the child to a designated facility and remain at that facility for the required duration. In other, specified, circumstances the child can effectively isolate in his or her place of residence with a responsible adult, subject to certain conditions including the provision, where requested by a relevant person, approved person or a member of the Garda Síochána, of such information or documentation as may be required in order to verify any particular provided relating to quarantine in the place of residence.
In this context a ‘responsible adult’ means, in relation to an applicable traveller who is a child, where the parent of the applicable traveller can be ascertained and reached within a time which is reasonable having regard to all the circumstances of the case, the parent concerned or in any other case a person acting in loco parentis.
A person may request that his or her quarantine be reviewed by a designated appeals officer. Grounds for such a request include that he or she needs to leave the designated facility on urgent humanitarian grounds. The request shall be reviewed by a designated appeals officer as soon as practicable but no later than 24 hours from the time of making the request and the designated appeals officer shall take one of several options, including confirming that the person is no longer obliged to remain in quarantine.
Where the designated appeals officer refuses a request, reasons shall be given for that decision. Where, for instance, the designated appeals officer has considered the humanitarian grounds concerned and is satisfied that it is appropriate in all the circumstances that a person’s quarantine in the designated facility should end, that person is subject to the self-quarantine obligations in any regulations applicable to persons arriving in the State from a non- designated state and that time in quarantine in a designated facility counts towards the satisfaction of such obligation.
The circumstances in which an applicable traveller may leave a designated facility, are set out and include a medical emergency. Where an applicable traveller leaves a designated facility for a such purpose, the responsible person shall cause to be recorded in writing the time, date and purpose for which, the person left the facility. That person shall, without delay, notify the Garda Síochána in writing where an applicable traveller, having left a designated facility for a specified purpose, fails to return at the expiration of the period which is strictly necessary for the purpose, or leaves a designated facility for a purpose other than one permitted above
An applicable traveller shall, while required to remain in quarantine, take an RT-PCR test while in quarantine. Th traveller may, at any time after his or her arrival in a designated facility, be moved for the purposes of isolation, to another part of that facility or another designated facility where an RT-PCR test taken by an applicable traveller detects the presence of Covid-19 or the virus SARS-CoV-2. An applicable traveller may also be moved to another designated facility where necessary or expedient to do so for the health and welfare of the traveller concerned or for any other good reason.
A relevant person or an approved person may, in the course of exercising a power or performing a function conferred on him or her, be accompanied and assisted by any other relevant person or approved person, and require a member of the Garda Síochána to assist in the exercise of the power or the performance of that function, including by way of temporarily detaining a person, bringing a person to any place, breaking open of any premises or any other action in which the use of force may be necessary and is lawful, and a member of the Garda Síochána so required shall comply with the requirement.
Provision is made for the responsible person to arrange for an approved to return the applicable traveller to the designated facility in circumstances where an applicable traveller leaves a designated facility for a purpose other than a specified purpose such as to avail of an RT-PCR test, but fails to return after the expiration of a period which is strictly necessary for that purpose. If unable to effect the return, the approved person may require a member of the Garda Síochána to assist in returning the applicable traveller to the designated facility concerned. This provision also applies where the applicable traveller leaves a designated facility for a purpose which is not specified in the Act. In such circumstances the applicable traveller is to be furnished with a copy of the notification given to the Garda Síochána by the responsible person in respect of that applicable traveller.
An applicable traveller shall be guilty of an offence in a range of circumstances, resisting being detained or brought to a designated facility. In addition, a person may be guilty of a range of offences, including attempting to prevent the detention of an applicable traveller. It shall be an offence for any person, without reasonable excuse, to fail to comply with a direction given by a member of the Garda Síochána under this section. A member of the Garda Síochána may arrest without warrant any person whom that member of the Garda Siochana has reasonable cause for believing has committed an offence (to present on arrival in the State to specified officials or at the designated facility/fails or refuses to state his or her name and address, respectively). Penalties related to the various offences are set out in this section.
The Minister for Health may designate in writing any state as a ‘designated state’ where there is known or thought to be sustained human transmission of Covid-19 or any variant of concern, or from which there is a high risk of importation of infection or contamination with Covid-19 or any variant of concern by travel from that state.
The designation is to be published on a website maintained by the Minister or the Government. The matters to which the Minister shall have regard in making a designation are set out, and the Minister shall regularly review the situation in a designated state. In this context ‘state’ means any country, territory, region or other place outside the State other than Northern Ireland.
Designated facilities are, facilities in the State considered appropriate for the quarantine of applicable travellers. The Minister shall, before designating a facility, be satisfied that the facility concerned is suitable, and of sufficient quality, to meet the health and welfare needs of those who will be quarantining in it. The fact of such a designation shall be published on a website maintained by the Minister or the Government. The approved service provider shall charge an applicable traveller the costs incurred in the provision of accommodation, maintenance and any treatment while in a designated facility.
The Minister for Health may make regulations for giving further effect to certain matters relating to the requirement to quarantine, including regulations providing for the manner in which a designated facility, or class of designated facilities, is to be established or operated.
The Minister or, at the direction of the Minister, the Health Service Executive may enter into an agreement with another person, an ‘approved person’, for the provision by that approved person of services including for conveying and returning persons to designated facilities. Provision is also made for the approved person to keep all the required records of income and expenditure, and for appropriate monitoring by the Minister/Health Service Executive.
The Health Service Executive may enter into service agreements for accommodation and maintenance for purposes of quarantine agreement with an “approved services provider”, for the provision by that approved services provider of services relating to accommodation and maintenance for purposes of quarantine. The agreement may include the provision of accommodation services to applicable travellers for the purposes of quarantine and to dependant persons accompanying such travellers and the maintenance of applicable travellers and any dependant persons during their period of residence at a designated facility.
Agreements may also address the provision of security arrangements for a designated facility, and the treatment, if necessary, of applicable travellers and dependant persons during the period of residence at a designated facility.
An agreement with an approved service provider shall require the implementation of standards and protocols established by the Minister or, at the direction of the Minister, the Health Service Executive for services provided in the facility, and the implementation of arrangements determined by the Minister or the HSE for medical care and support for persons in the facility. Such agreements will also cover rules established by the Minister or the HSE for applicable travellers and dependant persons in such facilities, and the appointment of a person, a ‘responsible person’, who shall carry out specified duties. Provision is also made in the agreement for a review/ complaint procedures for applicable travellers and dependant persons in relation to treatment and service in a designated facility.
The Minister or the Health Service Executive shall, before entering in to an agreement with an approved service provider, be satisfied that the arrangements envisaged are suitable, and that the services are of sufficient quality, to meet the health and welfare needs of those who will be quarantining in the designated facility concerned.
The approved services provider must eep all the required records of income and expenditure. There is provision for appropriate monitoring by the Minister/Health Service Executive. There are requirements in relation to maintaining records. The records in question include whether (designated or non-designated state), and the designated facility at which the applicable traveller is in quarantine.
There is provision for the processing of personal data or special categories of personal data collected for the above purpose. For instance, such data may be processed by the Minister, the Health Service Executive and the Garda Síochána, for the purposes of recording and verifying information regarding whether or not a relevant traveller was, on his or her arrival in the State, in possession of the result of a RT-PCR test.
The Minister for Health may enter into an arrangement with another Minister of the Government for the performance by the relevant Minister of one or more specified functions. The arrangement in question shall be on such terms and for such period as may be agreed by the Ministers. The relevant Minister may perform the specified function on behalf of the Minister for Health in accordance with the arrangement, and do any act or thing relating to the performance of that specified function that the Minister for Health would be authorised to do if he or she performed the function concerned. In this context, ‘specified function’ means a function of the Minister (including part of a function) under section 38F, 38H, 38I or 38K.
There is an obligation on travel organisers, in relation to a person whose arrival in the State it organises, effects or facilitates to take reasonable steps to inform that person of his or her obligation to pre- book a designated facility. There is also an obligation to take reasonable steps to check whether or not an applicable traveller has pre-booked a designated facility, and to refuse to organise, effect or facilitate the travel of the person to the State where the person has not satisfactorily demonstrated to the travel organiser that he or she has pre-booked such a facility. In this regard, the obligation to refuse to organise the travel does not apply where the person declares to the travel organiser that he or she is an exempted traveller. A a charge shall be made for the attendance on persons at a designated facility.
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