Hiqa advises five-day Covid test interval to remain for international arrivals


The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) has advised the HSE that the interval before international arrivals can ‘test-out’ of home-quarantine should not be extended beyond fives days as it would “only slightly reduce the risk of transmission, but would substantially increase the burden on passengers”.

Currently, arrivals from countries not listed on the Government ‘designated states’ list must quarantine at home for 14 days, but may ‘test-out’ or stop quarantining if they test negative/non-detected for Covid-19 five days after their arrival in the country.

Hiqa chief scientist, Dr Conor Teljeur said: “The risk of importing variants in people travelling to Ireland is concerning. To manage this, we need information on the countries passengers travelled through before arriving in Ireland.

“By improving the content, accuracy and coverage of the Passenger Locator Form, it will be possible to better manage and monitor the current quarantine policy.”

Hiqa advised that the collection of data regarding eligibility and uptake of post-arrival Covid-19 tests and quarantine adherence should be improved in order to determine whether current policies are working.

Referencing mandatory hotel quarantine, Dr Teljeur said: “Coordination is needed across government departments and agencies to ensure the legal duty to quarantine is clearly communicated to passengers.”

He added: “Providing clear and consistent information on how and where to access free post-arrival testing could increase uptake and allow more passengers from non-designated states to exit quarantine early and, more importantly, safely.”

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