Northern Ireland to require Covid-19 pre-departure testing for arrivals
Northern Ireland is to require incoming travellers to undertake pre-departure testing for Covid-19.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has already set out new rules which, from next week, will require passengers arriving in England by boat, train or plane – including UK nationals – to take a test up to 72 hours before leaving the country of departure.
Failure to comply in England will lead to an immediate £500 fine.
This will strengthen our response to the changes seen in the transmission of the virus both domestically and across the globe
Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I have agreed in principle to the proposed pre-departure testing regime for Northern Ireland.
“Officials are currently working with colleagues across the UK to resolve policy and operational issues around an effective implementation.
“This will strengthen our response to the changes seen in the transmission of the virus both domestically and across the globe.
“Taken together with the existing mandatory self-isolation period for passengers returning from high-risk countries, pre-departure tests will provide a further line of defence – helping us control the virus as we roll out the vaccine at pace over the coming weeks.”
Scotland has announced similar measures to England.
Under England’s new travel rules, passengers will need to present proof of a negative test result to their carrier on boarding while the UK Border Force will conduct spot checks on arrivals.
All passengers arriving from countries not on the Government’s travel corridor list will still be required to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their test result.
Mr Shapps said people whose jobs mean they qualify for travel quarantine exemptions will be required to take a coronavirus test before travelling.
The Government lists dozens of jobs that qualify for exemption from completing the passenger locator form or self-isolating, including some defence personnel, elite sportsmen and women, and health workers.
From Saturday, all passengers arriving at Irish airports and ports whose journey originates in Great Britain or South Africa will be requested to have evidence of a negative result from a pre-departure PCR Covid-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland.
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