Northern Ireland news

Quarantine requirements relaxed for visitors to Northern Ireland from low to medium-risk countries

A passenger arrives at Belfast International Airport. Picture by Hugh Russell
Rebecca Black, Press Association

Quarantine requirements for visitors arriving in Northern Ireland from low to medium risk countries are set to end, the Stormont Executive has agreed.

Ministers met today to discuss further relaxation to coronavirus regulations.

Among their discussions they agreed amendments to the International Travel Regulations which include no self-isolation requirement for those travelling to Northern Ireland from low to medium risk countries.

First Minister Arlene Foster said she was pleased to say ministers had chosen to follow the approach of England and Wales.

"The countries that can be visited are green and amber, and so that includes countries like Spain and France - so that people can go on their holidays and not have to quarantine when they come back to Northern Ireland," she said.

"We will keep looking at all of those countries on an ongoing basis to make sure that they don't move from amber to red, because if that were to happen then we would have to advise the public of that and make sure they were aware of that."

Mrs Foster said she hopes the regulations to facilitate this change will be laid out tonight and will apply from tomorrow.

The decision was welcomed by the Belfast International Airport boss Graham Keddie who hailed it as helping to "bring clarity to the uncertainty of the last week or so".

"Air connectivity is essential for business and tourism and we thank the Executive for moving swiftly to bring us into line with England," he said.

The Executive also agreed to confirm the latest planned relaxations to the coronavirus regulations.

From tomorrow, indoor fitness studios and gyms, bingo halls and amusement arcades, outdoor leisure playgrounds, courts and gyms and cinemas may reopen.

The Executive also agreed that outdoor horse racing and equestrian competitions as well as outdoor competitive games and sporting events can resume from Saturday July 11.

However no spectators will be allowed.

Ministers also ratified earlier commitments in relation to marriages, baptisms and civil partnerships to resume tomorrow.

Meanwhile it was also confirmed that face coverings on public transport will be mandatory from tomorrow.

Further announced reopening dates include libraries from July 16 and skating rinks and leisure centres from July 17.

However, no date has been proposed for the reopening of swimming pools.

Earlier it was announced that there had been no deaths with Covid-19 for the sixth day in a row, according to Department of Health figures.

Some 554 people have died with the virus to date according to department figures.

However, another three positive cases have been noted since Wednesday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 5,768.

The department announced today that the current estimate of the R rate in Northern Ireland is 0.5-1.0.

Meanwhile, in the Republic of Ireland six more people have died.

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Northern Ireland news