American soldiers violated Irish COVID-19 regulations when they landed at Shannon airport without proof of negative coronavirus tests and contact tracing documents, then left the hotel in which they were self-isolating, to purchase food. According to the Irish Examiner, the U.S. Navy C-40A aircraft—a military version of the Boeing 737-700C airliner used for logistics missions—touched down at Shannon the evening of Jan. 25 with 48 servicemembers and five crew aboard. The group stayed the night in a local hotel, and wore face masks when they left the property to eat, said Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney. The incident was “due to an error on the U.S. side,” Coveney explained during a parliamentary session. U.S. authorities have reportedly apologized for the public health breach, and have initiated a review of the situation.
“Any non-compliance is a serious matter and I made this clear in a discussion with the chargé d'Affaires of the U.S. embassy in Dublin on February 4,” Coveney said. The troops returned to the U.S. the following morning.