26 Jan 2022

Cabinet Office issues update on Ireland-UK travel regulations

BREAKING: British Cabinet Office issue updates on Ireland-UK travel regulations

PCR tests will become mandatory for passengers entering Britain from outside the Common Travel Area

PASSENGERS travelling between Ireland and Britain will not have to undertake a PCR Covid-19 test despite new restrictions announced this evening.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a media briefing on Saturday night that arrivals on British soil will have to take a private test on their second day to determine whether they have coronavirus - isolating until the result is known.

However, the Cabinet Office at Westminster has confirmed that passengers travelling within the Common Travel Area, including Ireland, will not be subject to this.

"I can confirm that the PCRs do not apply to travel within the Common Travel Area. More details on the regulations will be set out early next week," a spokesperson said.

In effect this means that the existing rules governing travel between Ireland and Britain stay as they are.

As it stands, if you're travelling cross-channel from either Ireland, there is no requirement to complete a passenger locator form, take any Covid-19 tests, or quarantine on arrival.

This rule only applies if you have not been outside Britain, Ireland, or any of the other nations in the Common Travel Area in the last 10 days - these are the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Mr Johnson had acted to order PCR tests for inbound passengers from other nations due to the emergence of the so-called Omnicron Covid-19 variant.

Detected by scientists in southern Africa at the end of the week, two cases of the new, potentially more destructive strain of the disease have been identified in England.

It means cross-channel, face coverings will become mandatory again in shops and on public transport in England from next week under a raft of measures.

Set up almost a century ago, the Common Travel Area effectively provides open borders between these nations, allowing easier travel. It also gives a variety of rights to other citizens of both countries.

The Irish government has not yet confirmed what it will do, but sources have suggested they will reflect the actions of their counterparts in London.

Travelling back to Ireland, passengers need to fill in a passenger locator form, and provide either a negative Covid-19 test, or a vaccination certificate.

The news will no doubt come as a boost to many British and Irish ex-pats who are hoping to come home for Christmas.

Munster Rugby, whose players are currently in South Africa, are due to play Wasps in Coventry in the English West Midlands in mid-December.

However, Mr Johnson has said the rules will be reviewed in three weeks.

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