Three countries have officially been let off the mandatory hotel quarantine list this evening, according to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

Israel, Albania, and St Lucia have all been taken off the list which saw a massive increase in potential names on Friday.

The USA, Canada, and France were among the big name countries reportedly being added to the list, which Minister Donnelly confirmed in a statement this evening.

He said: “Ireland’s system of mandatory hotel quarantine is a key element in the protection of public health, especially during the present critical period for our COVID-19 vaccination programme.

“In the coming days I intend to designate a number of additional states so as to ensure that Ireland is protected as far as possible from importation of Variants of Concern, which pose a significant risk to our fight against this disease.”

The full list of additional countries and territories which the Minister intends to add to the list are: Bangladesh, Belgium, France, Italy, Kenya, Luxembourg, Pakistan, Turkey, the USA, Canada, Armenia, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Curaçao, Maldives, Ukraine.

People who have arrived from any of the three states removed from the list are free to leave their quarantine hotel – however the requirement to stay at home for 14 days after arrival will still apply like all travellers into Ireland.

Israel, in particular, was a controversial addition to the quarantine list, with the country all but back to normal after the massive success of their early rollout vaccine programme

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