With the number of daily cases of Covid-19 continuing to rise in the UK, including the country’s largest number of cases in a single day since the pandemic began recorded this week, Ireland has decided to extend the travel ban imposed on the country.
A popular time to travel between the two countries, the news comes as a blow to the thousands who make the short hop across the Irish sea every festive season, and to those who were hoping to kickstart 2021 on the Emerald Isle. Here’s more information about the ban, and what travelers should know about Covid-19 in the two countries.
Travel Ban Extended – What Travelers Should Know
The travel ban between Ireland and the UK isn’t new. The original ban came into effect on December 21st following fears that the new virus strain discovered in the UK could spread rapidly in Ireland given the number of Brits making the journey. The extension of the ban was announced on the evening of the 30th December and will see the ban prolonged until January 6th at a minimum. The extension follows a number of countries deciding to ban flights from the UK, despite the EU appealing for countries to reconsider such measures.
The ban includes the two methods of entering Ireland from Britain, sea and air travel, and has also been widened to include a ban on arrivals from South Africa, another country that has reported a fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus. Repatriation flights will still be going ahead, but travel for touristic purposes is not permitted.
With the UK setting new records for its Covid-19 figures over the holiday season – and with New Year’s Eve celebrations still to come – it remains unlikely that a significant change or lowering in the number of cases will take place, which could see the ban extended further once more.
Covid-19 In Ireland – How Is Travel Affected?
Ireland is currently experiencing its “third wave” of Covid-19, having recorded its highest daily case record of 1,566 this week. As a result, the country is to be placed under a nationwide lockdown as of Thursday 31st December – the third national lockdown of the pandemic so far.
Under the lockdown rules, schools are to close until January 11th, whilst non-essential retail stores, gyms and leisure centers must close until the end of January. Bars, pubs and restaurants may only open to serve takeaway food and drink.
Travel is also a casualty of the new lockdown rules. Under the lockdown, travel is only permitted for work, education or other essential purposes, and people are not permitted to travel further than 5km from their homes. These restrictions will be in place until the end of January.
Covid-19 In The UK – How Travel Has Been Affected
Following Christmas and the discovery of a faster-spreading Covid-19 variant, the UK reported its highest daily tally of cases of the virus, with 53,135 recorded on December 29th. From today, a further 20 million people in England will be placed under Tier 4 regulations – the strictest Covid-19 regulations that the UK offers. Under this tier, travel is restricted to only essential purposes, and international travel is only permitted for those that have a legally permitted reason to do so. Those under other tiers are permitted to travel – but, with several countries already banning inbound flights from Britain, their list of destinations is a short one.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories