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Passengers arriving in Ireland must complete locator form – Harris

Minister for Health Simon Harris said the forms will come into effect from Thursday May 28.

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Minister for Health Simon Harris said the forms were necessary (Photocall Ireland/PA)

Minister for Health Simon Harris said the forms were necessary (Photocall Ireland/PA)

Minister for Health Simon Harris said the forms were necessary (Photocall Ireland/PA)

Passengers arriving in Ireland from next week will be legally required to complete a locator form, the Minister for Health has said.

Simon Harris said the forms will come into effect from Thursday May 28 and will remain in place until June 18 when they will be reviewed.

Passengers arriving in Ireland from overseas are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Cabinet signed off on the plans on Friday afternoon.

Every measure we take is aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19 and protecting people from this virus.Simon Harris

Mr Harris said: “These are extraordinary measures but they are necessary in a time of a public health crisis.

“We continue to advise everyone against non-essential travel. However, if a person does arrive into Ireland, they will be legally obliged to fill out this form, regardless of their nationality.

“The form will be used to facilitate a system of follow up checks to make sure people who travel to the country are staying where they said that they would.

“The form will also ensure more accurate and quicker contact tracing, should we have a confirmed case on a flight or ferry coming into Ireland.

“Every measure we take is aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19 and protecting people from this virus. This is no different.”

People who breach the new offences will be fined 2,500 euro or face a prison sentence of up to six months.

These include passengers who fail to complete the form, provide false or misleading information, fail to provide further information when requested, or fail to update residence or contact details if they change within 14 days of arrival into the State.

Passengers transiting to another jurisdiction, certified international transport workers, air and maritime pilot/masters and crew, will not have to complete the form.

Individuals from Northern Ireland will have to fill out a portion of the form.

On Friday, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said 11 new deaths had been reported, bringing the toll to 1,592.

Another 115 new cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 24,506.

One new admission to hospital intensive care was recorded.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Joe McHugh has said reopening schools in September will be complicated due to the current health guidelines.

Schools have been closed since March and are not due to reopen until September.

Mr McHugh said class sizes in Ireland are higher than the European average which may make it more difficult for all pupils to return at the same time.

Speaking at Government buildings on Friday he said: “We will see how many students we can get back to school in September in as safe a way as possible.”

“At the moment if we work under current health guidelines for returning to schools in September, it is a very restricted return, it is a very challenging return and it is a very complicated return – particularly when you have old schools and schools with narrow corridors and packed classes.

“If you consider Germany and France who have been returning to school, they have a maximum of 15 children in their classrooms.

“My message to parents is – we will communicate with them as early as possible about the current timeline.”

Mr McHugh said he is glad members of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) will now proceed with calculated grades for their Leaving Certificate students, after the union said a row over legal protections has been resolved.

The ASTI said “full indemnity” has been secured for members after it had advised them not to take part until they were fully protected against any legal action arising from the marks they calculated for their students.

Also on Friday, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) published figures which show more men have been confirmed dead from Covid-19 than women (670 deaths compared to 617) even though more women were diagnosed as a confirmed case than men (13,694 women compared to 10,170 men).

PA