Ireland confirms self-isolation requirement for people arriving from Britain

Fully vaccinated people will have to self-isolate for five days and un-vaccinated people for 10, under plans confirmed by Cabinet.

A member of the defence forces escorts passengers from Terminal 1 arrivals hall at Dublin Airport
A member of the defence forces escorts passengers from Terminal 1 arrivals hall at Dublin Airport

People arriving in Ireland from Britain will have to undergo self-quarantine for a minimum of five days, the Government has confirmed.

Fully vaccinated people will have to self-isolate for five days and un-vaccinated people for 10, under plans confirmed by Cabinet on Tuesday.

The new rules, introduced on the back of increasing concerns around the Delta variant of Covid-19, first identified in India, have taken immediate effect.

It comes as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to delay the lifting of coronavirus restrictions by four weeks until July 19, as the Delta variant became the dominant strain in the country.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin
Taoiseach Micheal Martin said the isolation period had been introduced for the UK amid concerns around the Delta variant of Covid-19 (Liam McBurney/PA)

The Taoiseach said: “The broader picture is that the variant has increased in prevalence in the UK.

“I think it makes sense that we continue to monitor this, which we will take public health advice as we move along, but so far the reopening has gone well in Ireland.”

People arriving from the UK will now have to produce a negative PCR test on day five and day 10 of self-isolation before they are allowed to exit the quarantine period, if they are not vaccinated.

Those who do not avail of PCR tests must isolate for 14 days.

Fully vaccinated people can reduce their period of self-isolation to five days, if they can produce a negative PCR test at that point.

The Department of Health has said that the legal requirement to self-isolate will also apply to people arriving in Northern Ireland from Britain, who then travel on to the Republic.

Earlier Higher Education Minister Simon Harris called for a review of the requirement for fully vaccinated people to undergo self-isolation.

The Minister said it would be “prudent and sensible” if public health officials examined the advice around self-isolating for those who have been fully vaccinated.

Coronavirus – Tue Apr 13, 2021
Simon Harris (Niall Carson/PA)

Mr Harris said: “It’s my view that there seems to be a logic that if somebody is fully vaccinated, surely they should have some benefit or bonus from someone who’s not fully vaccinated?

“So I would like to see a review of the issue of a fully-vaccinated person having to self-isolate or self-quarantine at home. It seems to me not the most logical scenario.

“I would hope that as we move towards trying to reopen international travel and connectivity in the coming weeks, that our medical experts would look again at the issue of how fully-vaccinated people are treated.”

He added: “We must be near to the point that when someone who is fully vaccinated against Covid-19 that there has to be a benefit to that in terms of the isolation rules.

“I made a similar point around mandatory quarantine that if you’re fully vaccinated, why are we sending people to mandatory hotel quarantine?

“I’m now asking the question as we learn more about the vaccine, the benefit of the vaccine, is it now time to begin to review the rules around fully vaccinated people having to self-isolate?”

Tuesday brought an additional 283 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, the Department of Health said.

There were 60 people in hospitals with the disease, of whom 23 are in intensive care units.

Daily case numbers may change due to future data review, validation and update, owing to the cyberattack on the HSE.

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