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DUBLIN: Ireland on Saturday stopped its system of mandatory hotel quarantine for travellers arriving in the country, as coronavirus curbs continue to wind down in the Republic. Since late March travellers arriving from a government list of "designated states" have been subject to a mandatory two week hotel quarantine.

On Saturday the Irish government said health minister Stephen Donnelly "announced the removal of all remaining states from the list of states designated for the purposes of mandatory hotel quarantine with effect from today".

In a statement the health ministry said the decision was "based on the latest advice received from the chief medical officer". As well as arrivals from "designated states" with high Covid-19 rates, travellers who failed to comply with entry requirements such as negative PCR tests have also been subject to hotel quarantine since March.

The health ministry said over the past six months nearly 10,300 people have passed through mandatory hotel quarantine. Nearly 600 of those tested positive during their stay, the ministry said.

Donnelly said at its height the system encompassed travellers arriving from some 60 "designated states", peaking with more than 1,000 being held in quarantine in early May. He said mandatory quarantine "was introduced as an exceptional public health measure at a time that our country was contending with the very serious risk of importation of variants of concern".

It "played a central role in protecting the population, maintaining control of the disease and enabling the safe relaxation of restrictions on our economy and society", he added in a statement. Coronavirus has claimed 5,209 lives in the Republic of Ireland according to latest official figures.

But most pandemic curbs have now been lifted in the nation of five million. On Monday Dublin dropped longstanding advice that employees should work from home. The reopening of society has been facilitated by a very high rate of vaccine uptake, with more than 90 per cent of adults now fully vaccinated.

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