48-hour restriction on flights and ferries from UK to Ireland to come into effect from midnight

48-hour restriction on flights and ferries from UK to Ireland to come into effect from midnight

IRELAND IS set to introduce a 48-hour restriction on all flight and ferries coming into the country from the United Kingdom.

The travel ban is due to come into effect from midnight tonight, according to RTE.

The new restrictions will remain in place for two days before undergoing a review that could see them extended further into the Christmas holidays.

It comes in the wake of the emergence of a new strain of Covid-19 in the south of England.

VUI202012/01 is thought to be up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the previous strain of Covid-19.

The decision to ban travel from the UK to Ireland comes after Belgium, Holland and Italy implemented similar restrictions on flights from the UK in response to the virus mutation.

Speaking on RTE's This Week, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly described the emergence of new strain as "very worrying".

He added that the Government was taking the threat posed to Ireland "very seriously".

"I've been talking to the Taoiseach and Minister Ryan and the Chief Medical Officer over the weekend. We're looking at the situation," he said.

"We're cognisant that other countries have put travel restrictions in place.

"We are looking at exactly that same question and I expect that the Irish Government will make an announcement later on today on potential travel restrictions.

"Our main priority is to protect life and protect health and that we need to do everything that is required to keep the hospitals open, protect education, protect jobs."

Donnelly also confirmed that a ban on all UK flights was one of several options being discussed.

"We're looking at flights, we're looking at ferries, we're looking at travel to and from the island of Britain and Ireland,"” he said.

"I'd say in a number of hours, we'll be in a position to make an announcement."

The new restrictions are due to be announced later today.

Despite the introduction of the travel ban, there is no plan to implement similar restrictions between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

"We certainly are not considering sealing the border physically,” he said.

"What we could well be doing is looking at issuing very strong advice in terms of travel north and south."