Northern Ireland news

Quarantine requirements for arrivals in north eased

Staff in Gym Co in north and west Belfast get set to reopen on Friday Picture by Hugh Russell
Rebecca Black and Cate McCurry

Quarantine requirements for those arriving in Northern Ireland from low-to-medium-risk countries are set to end, the executive has agreed.

Ministers met yesterday to discuss further relaxations to coronavirus regulations.

Among their discussions they agreed amendments to the International Travel Regulations which include no self-isolation requirement for those arriving in the north 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 apply from today.

The decision was welcomed by the Belfast International Airport boss Graham Keddie, who said it helped “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 today, 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 July 11.

However no spectators will be allowed.

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

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

Further announced reopening dates include libraries from next Thursday and skating rinks and leisure centres from Friday.

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 in Northern Ireland 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 in the region to 5,768.

The department said the estimate of the R rate in the north is 0.5-1.0.

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