An Irishman returning from South America has tested positive for Covid-19 whilst in hotel quarantine, despite having contracted Covid-19 over a month ago during his travels.
The man in question told Gript.ie that health authorities in charge of the hotel have refused to give him another PCR test to verify the accuracy of the positive result, instead moving him to another hotel nearby where he will stay in an isolation wing for another fourteen days.
“I had already tested negative to get on the flight home, so it doesn’t seem likely that I would test positive only one month after I recovered from Covid-19,” he claimed.
“The people in charge of quarantining say I can’t have another test because the PCR is supposedly very accurate, so I will have to be incarcerated here for two weeks it seems.”
The man was forced to travel to South America for family reasons before hotel quarantining was introduced in Ireland, and now says his time in the hotel will be longer than expected.
“This positive result is just adding to the amount of time I am going to be held, because the fourteen days starts from the date of my positive test, not the date of arrival,” he said.
“If I am actually a positive case, it’s probably because my connecting flight was packed – the flight from South America only had twenty passengers on board.
“Staff here have been really kind, but it’s really frustrating to be locked away in a room on the basis of what is more than likely a false positive result.
“I’m now told I can’t even exercise outside, so even a prisoner has more right to fresh air than I have.”
The man’s mother, whom he cares for at home, is currently battling cancer and had hoped he could avoid quarantining at the hotel on compassionate grounds, but the latest decision to treat the man as a new case rather than re-testing has now dashed her hopes of seeing her son after ten days of quarantining.
One protestor against the requirement was heard by the man from inside his room at the Crowne Plaza hotel, shouting “where is the pandemic?” and “there is no pandemic.”
“This is a criminal operation and those people are being detained against their will and against the law,” the protestor roars.
Over 70 countries are now on the red list of countries from which arrivals to Ireland must quarantine in hotels, with India expected to be added this week.
Several cases challenging the requirement have been struck out by the High Court, with plaintiffs being freed and judgement as to the constitutionality of the measure withheld.
Ryanair representatives, who have cancelled routes from some of the affected countries, told Newstalk over the weekend that Ireland is “the laughing stock” of Europe for introducing a system that “simply doesn’t work” in the Common Travel Area.
“You can’t quarantine against people coming from France, Italy, Belgium… as they’ll simply just go to Sweden, Germany or Holland and fly anyway,” Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson said.
“If you want to do it from India or somewhere that’s got a variant, where we don’t have a Common Travel Area… then you can enforce that.”