Tougher restrictions on travel from UK being considered over Delta variant fears

It's likely longer quarantine periods will be implemented for those travelling from Great Britain into Ireland.
Tougher restrictions on travel from UK being considered over Delta variant fears

An Aer Lingus airbus A320 on the tarmac prior to departure to London Heathrow, at Cork Airport terminal building. The government is considering future restrictions for arrivals from the UK as concerns over the Delta variant grow.  Picture: Larry Cummins

The government is considering tighter restrictions on travellers coming from the UK over fears of the new Delta variant.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney confirmed today that talks are ongoing over how to stem the spread of the more contagious new variant which has taken hold in parts of England and delayed the loosening of restrictions.

It's likely longer quarantine periods will be implemented for those travelling from Great Britain into Ireland.

 Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Simon Coveney said talks are ongoing over Northern Ireland and Brexit. Picture:Gareth Chaney/Collins
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Simon Coveney said talks are ongoing over Northern Ireland and Brexit. Picture:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister of Health Stephen Donnelly spoke with Mr Coveney, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan during the weekend on the matter.


"We want to try to get the balance right between protecting the Common Travel Area with the UK as best we can because it's very important, and we need to take on board, the very real and strong public health evidence," he said.

"I was up in Lough Erne in Northern Ireland for the British Irish conference, and we heard from the First Ministers, both in Scotland, and in Wales, they are very concerned about the Delta variant or many people might know it as the Indian variant, and so we need to do what we can to make sure within reason that we slow down the spread of that variant into Ireland at an absolute minimum, and do what we can to protect it.

Obviously, I think people who are fully vaccinated are in a different category in the UK in terms of travelling to people who are not vaccinated.

"The Health Minister will bring in a recommendation to government but I don't want to announce anything today but just to say we are looking at this seriously.

"I don't think you're going to see dramatic changes in terms of quarantine and travel, but certainly I think you will see some changes to reflect the concern and the danger that the delta variant represents."

Mr Coveney said that "potentially" this would mean longer quarantine periods for people who aren't vaccinated.

The number cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Ireland has increased to 126, according to the latest update from the Health Service Executive (HSE).

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