People traveling to Ireland from Britain will be asked to perform daily lateral flow tests for five consecutive days after arrival, the Irish government said Thursday evening.
The tests will add to the recently announced requirement that travelers to the republic must undergo a PCR test or negative lateral flow test before boarding a ferry or plane.
In a statement, the taoiseach’s office said the first test should be done on the day of arrival and, if symptoms of Covid appear or a passenger has a positive result on a lateral flow test, they should request an PCR test and -isolate.
The latest restriction was put in place to mitigate the risk of the Omicron variant spreading from Britain, where the number of cases nearly doubled in a day after another 249 cases were confirmed.
Six cases of Omicron have been confirmed in Ireland.
The Irish government has said it is “taking relevant factors into account” following an “updated public health assessment regarding the Omicron variant”.
The restrictions will be a minor setback for the Irish diaspora in Britain where, unlike Ireland, lateral flow tests are free and can be transported to the republic.
They also highlight a different approach to the Common Travel Zone which normally allows British and Irish people to work, study, retire and vacation freely in either country without any restriction or passport control.
The pre-departure and post-departure Covid tests required for international arrivals to Britain do not apply to travelers arriving from Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
Ireland’s approach to Covid is very different from that of the UK, with one of the EU’s longest lockdowns. Nightclubs only reopened on October 22 and were closed again on Tuesday until the second week of January as the Covid threat is assessed.
Other restrictions include a four household limit on mixing in a private setting.