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Updated advice for visitors from Britain: 14 days of self-isolation, regardless of test result

Those arriving from Britain can now arrange for a test through a GP.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

THE HSE HAS issued updated advice for anyone who has arrived in Ireland from Britain since 8 December, including self-isolation for 14 days, regardless of their Covid-19 test result.

Previously, those returning from Britain were advised that they could stop restricting their movements if they received a negative PCR test result five days or more after their arrival.

This evening the HSE said it is issuing this new advice due to the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in London and South East England.

Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said early analysis of the new strain identified in England suggests it is “significantly more transmissible than other strains”.

Anyone who travelled from England, Scotland or Wales since 8 December is advised:

  • You should self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the date of arrival into Ireland. The previous advice was to restrict movements for 14 days – this upgrades this advice from just staying at home, to staying in your room.
  • You should arrange a Covid-19 test, by calling a GP or GP Out of Hours services. This should be done as soon as possible 5 days after your arrival in Ireland.
  • Should your test results be ‘virus not detected’ continue to self-isolate for the duration of the 14-day period, as you could still be developing symptoms and should protect others from potential risk.
  • If you have already had a test privately, you still need to complete 14 days of self-isolation, regardless of the result of your private test.
  • If you develop any symptoms of Covid-19 at any stage, phone your GP and alert them of your recent travel from Britain.
  • If you have travelled from Britain, do not visit a nursing home or long term residential facility until you have completed your 14 days of self-isolation.

Dr Henry said this is a stricter form of advice than the standard ‘restrict your movements’ advice that would otherwise apply to people travelling to Ireland, but “our priorities must be to keep our friends and family safe over Christmas”.

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“I am asking all those who have travelled to please heed this advice and show this meitheal [community] spirit that we have seen throughout the pandemic. The HSE has written to clinical teams to inform them of this advice and we thank them for their continued support and assistance,” he said.

Though Henry said we do not know yet whether the new Covid-19 variant has spread outside Britain, we may see cases in Ireland.

“Our current protective actions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 are still the best protection we have against all strains of this virus” he said.

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