The Government has announced stricter overseas travel advice for arrivals from Great Britain amid concern about the rise of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.
assengers arriving in Ireland from Great Britain will be advised to undertake daily antigen tests for five consecutive days, beginning on the day of arrival and to self-isolate immediately and seek a PCR test if they develop symptoms or have a positive antigen test.
The Government said the latest public health assessment in relation to the Omicron variant has been considered, and taking account of relevant factors including the intention to continue to align with the overall European Union approach to travel, and the particular circumstances of the Common Travel Area, the additional travel guidelines are being rolled-out.
As well as the inclusion of antigen testing for travellers coming from the UK, the current requirement for all overseas passengers to have a “not-detected” pre-departure Covid test (antigen or PCR, depending on vaccine recovery status) will continue to apply.
Airlines and ferry companies will continue to check pre-departure test compliance, with spot-checking by border management officials also maintained at points of arrival.
Anyone eligible for a booster vaccine is being strongly advised to avail of it where possible, if contemplating international travel in the near future.
Meanwhile, the Government said its communications on Covid-19 will be updated to emphasise that everyone should take account of their overall health, their vaccine status, and the spread of Omicron in other countries before they decide to travel.
Speaking tonight, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Ireland is following the European approach on antigen testing for international travel and the advice for travellers coming from the UK should be followed but it is not a regulation.
“We are saying to people coming in from Great Britain that the five days after you arrive back you should take an antigen test every day and you should exercise a very high degree of caution when you are travelling,” he told Virgin Media’s The Tonight Show.
“That’s public advise, it’s not regulatory. So, we’re giving this advice as government… People do adhere to public health advice. We’re not putting it into law in terms of the text. We have to trust people in respect of taking it,” he added.
The Taoiseach also confirmed that the antigen tests can be self-administered and it only applies to Great Britain because of the scale of travel between the UK and Ireland.
Mr Martin said the WHO has expressed the view that the Omicron variant cannot be stopped but it can be slowed down and that is what the new measures aim to do.
“We’re taking steps to protect people and to say to people ‘be conscious of this’. Slowing it down and getting the booster down will give added protection,” he added.
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