Two women from Ireland were arrested for allegedly refusing to go to a hotel for quarantine after they returned from a medical tourism in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Kirstie McGrath, 30, and Niamh Mulreany, 25, left the United Arab Emirates and arrived in Dublin Airport on Friday, April 2, according to The Independent.ie – an Irish national news outlet.
Refusing to go to quarantine reportedly landed the pair at Ballymun Garda Station in Santry, Dublin. McGrath and Mulreany were charged with violating the country’s current Health Act, according to the outlet.
In late March, Irish health authorities announced there would be mandatory hotel quarantines for travellers who arrived from countries that were determined to be a “significant risk.” The United Arab Emirates is included in this list of the 84 countries.
“Any passenger who has been in any of these Category 2 countries in the previous 14 days, even if only transiting through one of these countries and even if remaining airside, is legally required to quarantine at a designated facility (mandatory hotel quarantine),” travel guidelines published on the Department of Foreign Affairs reads. “This applies even if the passenger receives a negative RT-PCR test result after arriving in the State. There are very limited exemptions to this requirement.”
McGrath and Mulreany appeared before Judge Miriam Walsh at Tallaght District Court on Saturday, April 4, according to the Independent.ie. Their attorney Michael French said the two women were in the United Arab Emirates for breast augmentation and were unaware of the hotel quarantine mandate.
People who receive breast augmentation surgery typically need to rest for a period of time to recover safely, foxnews.com reported.
Walsh reportedly questioned whether the surgeries were essential. Meanwhile, testimony from Irish police said authorities took two hours to explain the mandatory quarantine to the two women.
French defended McGrath and Mulreany on the basis that they were trying to return home to their children and had already taken three coronavirus tests that returned negative. He also challenged the constitutionality of the mandate since people diagnosed with COVID-19 were allowed to quarantine at home rather than at a hotel.
The British Broadcasting Corporation estimated a 12-day stay for a single adult could cost around $2,231.35 when the hotel quarantine mandate was first put in place in March.
The Irish Department of Health has compiled a list of 84 countries that require travellers to quarantine for 14 days in an approved hotel when they arrive in Ireland.
Failure to comply with this mandate could result in a fine of $2,349.73 or a month in prison, according to the BBC.
Recent posts from social media users show the public remained divided on the issue.
“This is a dangerous ‘law’ that a dictator might put in place. There is no logic to it, this is selective internment of people,” one Twitter user wrote. Another Twitter user wrote: “They weren’t worried about their kids when they were getting their tits done out in Dubai, fair play to the judge for taking no nonsense from them.”