Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

08.46 15 Jun 2021


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Mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals from Britain would be a step too far, the Transport Minister has said.

Eamon Ryan said Ireland will not be sealing borders, despite the growing concern over the Delta variant.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday announced a month-long delay to England's final step of reopening due to rising COVID-19 rates associated with the variant first identified in India.

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Cabinet today signed off on plans for extra restrictions on people travelling from Britain to Ireland.

People who aren't yet fully vaccinated will need to isolate for 10 days, and will require negative PCR tests on day five and day 10 before being able to move around freel.y

Fully vaccinated passengers will be able to leave quarantine with a negative test after day five.

There have been calls for mandatory hotel quarantine for UK arrivals, including from some scientists and opposition politicians.

However, Minister Ryan told Newstalk Breakfast he does believe that would be a restriction too far.

Speaking ahead of the Cabinet meeting, he said: “The open border with Northern Ireland has always been the issue when people were looking for a zero COVID approach.

"We’re not going to seal our borders, and in these circumstances, I don’t think that would be the right approach."

He confirmed that Cabinet was looking at the extra restrictions, including the longer periods of self-quarantine for arrivals from Britain - noting the Government's being cautious "for good reason".

The Green Party leader said the Delta variant is already in Ireland, and one of the reasons they’re changing the travel rules is to hold back its spread for as long as possible.

He said the current staged approach to easing restrictions is working well, and case numbers are going down.

Minister Ryan said "we're not out of the woods yet", and there's a need to be cautious over the coming weeks as the vaccine rollout continues.

He also told the show he'd support the more widespread use of rapid antigen testing, including in the likes of workplaces and colleges.

Main image: Eamon Ryan (picture: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie) / Plane in the sky (picture by: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/PA Images)

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