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24 Jan 2022

New travel rules for arrivals into Ireland delayed

New travel testing rules for arrivals in Ireland delayed

The rules will now come into effect at midnight on Sunday 5 instead of today Friday 3.

New travel restrictions for people arriving into Ireland as a measure to combat the new Covid-19 variant Omicron, has been delayed by 48 hours.

Industry figures were informed last night that the rules will now come into effect at midnight on Sunday 5 instead of today Friday 3.

Earlier this week, the Government agreed new rules on travel that would see all travellers entering Ireland required to show a negative result on a professionally administered antigen test 48 hours before arrival, or on a PCR test 72 hours before arrival.

The changes to the rules, which also apply to travellers from the UK, come as the Omicron variant continues to cause concerns worldwide.

Ireland has so far confirmed one case of the new variant.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee confirmed this morning that the new testing regime had been postponed.

“I think people will appreciate that a number of departments are involved here,” Ms McEntee said.

“It takes time, where you have to engage and make sure that the regulations are correct.”

“This is simply procedural. It’s not that there has been a change at all. There just is a little bit longer time needed between departments to finalise these so it’s not about Government flip-flopping or changing direction.”

“We have to change direction sometimes because of the nature of this pandemic. Everybody is doing their best here and everything we have done has been with the intention of keeping people safe.”

The Government is also set to consider fresh advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), with suggestions that health officials have advised that new restrictions be introduced ahead of the festive season.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath are set to meet with representatives from the hospitality industry today.

On Thursday, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said: “We are beginning to see stabilisation in a range of key indicators of incidence of Covid-19.

“While this progress is very welcome, the level of disease in the community is still a concern.

“Stabilisation is happening at too high a level. The current high incidence is driven by the Delta variant, which, coupled with the presence of the Omicron variant, means that the trajectory of the disease remains uncertain.”

On Thursday night, a Bill that would put the potential introduction of mandatory hotel quarantine on a legal footing passed all stages in the Dáil.

It is set to be debated and passed by the Seanad later today.

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