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Leah Farrell/
travel advice

Arrivals to Ireland from South America must have a negative Covid-19 test AND self-isolate for 14 days

The advice is the same as that in place for Britain and South Africa.

LAST UPDATE | 18 Jan 2021

PEOPLE ARRIVING INTO this country from South America are now being advised to self-isolate for 14 days regardless of whether or not they have a negative Covid-19 test. 

The move puts the region on the same footing in terms of incoming travel as Britain and South Africa and comes amid concerns over a variant of the coronavirus first identified in Brazil.

The variant has not yet been identified in Ireland but the HSE today updated its strict advice to include arrivals from South America

The UK on Friday banned travellers from South America from entering the country over concerns about the variant. Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said there are no plans for such a ban in Ireland as there are no direct flights from South Africa

As of the weekend, anyone travelling into this country is required to have a negative Covid-19 test that was taken up to 72 hours prior to departure. 

People arriving here from grey or red countries as part of Europe’s traffic light system are also required to restrict their movements for 14 days, but this movement restriction can be ended if they have a further negative test five days after arriving. 

This does not apply in the case of people who left from Britain, South Africa or South America, as travellers from those areas must self-isolate for 14 days regardless of any test. 

Self-isolation is a stricter restriction that essentially asks people to stay in their room. 

“This is stricter advice than usual,” the HSE says.

It’s in place because of the spread of new strains of Covid-19 in Great Britain, South Africa and South America. These strains of Covid-19 are more easily spread than other strains of the virus, so it is a greater risk.

Speaking at this evening’s press briefing at the Department of Health, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said people travelling into Ireland from Brazil in recent days have received a text message advising them to contact a GP and get tested. 

“Quite a number of people have come forward to be tested and that’s a process that’s now underway,” Dr Holohan said. 

“It’s good to see that we have a response from that target of messaging that we’ve been engaged in over recent days,” he said. 

The UK variant, known as B117, is being transmitted widely in Ireland and Dr Cillian De Gascun of the National Virus Reference Laboratory has said that it is “inevitable” that it will become the dominant variant here in Ireland.

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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