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'That approach can't continue forever': Britain travel ban to be replaced by strict health regulations

The government first introduced a suspension on flights and passenger ferries from Britain last Sunday night for an initial 48-hour period.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan
Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

THE TRAVEL BAN in place for flights from Britain to Ireland will be lifted, with strict health regulations put in its place, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has said.

He has said that the current ban – implemented due to the new strain of Covid-19 which doctors in the UK have said is more transmissable – cannot continue “forever” because freight, businesses and workers rely on this travel back and forth.

The government first introduced a suspension on flights and passenger ferries from Britain on Sunday night for an initial 48-hour period. 

The measure was introduced as a precaution due to the spread of a new variant of Covid-19 in Britain.

The measure was subsequently extended to 31 December. Under the latest advice from the HSE, anyone arriving into Ireland from Britain should self-isolate for two weeks regardless of whether they have received a Covid-19 test.

Ryan said: “On a regular basis we have emergency workers who you have to have in here because they’re maintaining vital infrastructure.

On the energy side, we require expert engineers to come in on a regular basis to maintain and to service our power stations. That’s just one example that I know of.

The Green Party leader said that the measure was necessary when it was introduced, but won’t be practical going forward.

“We had to have an emergency response to the UK Government’s announcement on Saturday evening and by Sunday afternoon we had our emergency response, we were going to have to lock down, ban travel and stop flights and so on,” he said.

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“But that approach can’t continue forever and a day because we do have to manage our whole range of other priorities.

“So what we will likely do is introduce further, more detailed regulations around all that travel so we do it in a very safe way.

In the next two to three months we will have to maintain those essential workers and those essential reasons why there will be travel, but regulated very strictly on health grounds. That’s the European Commission [advice], that you use health regulations to control travel rather than doing blanket bans.

About the author:

Sean Murray

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