Irish people returning from Cheltenham will not be required to self-isolate
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Irish people returning from Cheltenham will not be required to self-isolate

PEOPLE returning to Ireland from the Cheltenham Festival will not be told to self-isolate, according to Health Minister Simon Harris.

The National Public Health Emergency Team says anyone returning from Spain or Italy will have to restrict their movements for the next two weeks, but doesn't consider the UK to be as problematic a location.

As such, a decision has been made not to order those coming home from the UK into isolation.

They will however be met by health workers at the airport, who will run visual checks as a minimum precaution.

Mr Harris insists isolating those returning this weekend would be "counterintuitive".

"It just seems counterintuitive that at a time when we are shutting down large events here that there be so many Irish people and others sitting in close proximity to each other at the races and returning," he said.

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"So the public health emergency team did specifically consider Cheltenham again last night and it has decided that they do not need to self-isolate on return.

"That is for a couple of reasons but principally the fact that the UK is currently not deemed to be the same as Spain or Italy."

Over 250,000 people attend the festival over a four-day period.

On Thursday, Ireland was placed into lockdown until March 29, with all schools, colleges and large events suspended until then.