TRAVEL from Ireland to Britain will not be affected by Covid restrictions implemented following the emergence of the Omicron variant.
The British Government yesterday unveiled new travel restrictions and containment measures following the identification of two cases of the new variant in Essex and Nottingham.
These include 10 African countries being added to Britain's red list and the compulsory wearing of masks in shops and on public transport.
However, the British Embassy in Dublin has confirmed that travel from Ireland to England — and all members of the Common Travel Area (CTA) — is not affected by the new measures.
A test will only be required if a passenger has also travelled outside of the CTA within the previous 10 days.
No Covid-19 test
In a tweet this morning, the British Embassy in Dublin said: "New COVID-19 measures have been announced for England.
"Current rules for travel within the Common Travel Area (CTA) remain unchanged.
"No COVID-19 test or quarantine is required if travelling within CTA and not outside of CTA in previous 10 days."
Happy to receive CONFIRMATION that new #COVID19 international travel measures announced by U.K. Govt, involving extra PCR testing on arrival, will NOT apply to the CTA. So travellers from #Ireland to U.K. will be unaffected. @BritEmbDublin @dfatirl https://t.co/TDWvETEtwq
— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) November 28, 2021
Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney confirmed the decision, tweeting: "Happy to receive CONFIRMATION that new #COVID19 international travel measures announced by U.K. Govt, involving extra PCR testing on arrival, will NOT apply to the CTA.
"So travellers from #Ireland to U.K. will be unaffected."
Meanwhile, Ireland's National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) said it was aware of reported Omicron cases in Britain and elsewhere and will monitor the situation.
Mandatory hotel quarantine
Anyone travelling to Britain from one of 10 African countries is now subject to mandatory hotel quarantine for 10 days.
The countries affected are Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs has said to "avoid non-essential travel" to seven of those countries — Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
As part of Britain's measures to contain the spread of the Omicron variant, from next week, all international arrivals must take a Day 2 PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
All contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate, regardless of their vaccination status, and will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
Meanwhile, face coverings will be made compulsory in shops and on public transport, although hospitality settings will be exempt.
The "precautionary" measures are to be reviewed in three weeks.