Republic of Ireland news

All travellers entering the Republic will be required to show a negative Covid test result

All travellers entering the Republic of Ireland from Friday will be required to show a negative result. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA Wire

All travellers entering the Republic of Ireland from Friday will be required to show a negative result on a professionally administered antigen test 48 hours before arrival or on a PCR test 72 hours before arrival.

The decision comes as the Irish Government tries to delay the spread of the new Omicron variant in the Republic of Ireland.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien, speaking after a meeting of Cabinet on Tuesday, said the new measures will initially apply for two weeks.

He also said soon-to-be issued guidance on mask-wearing for younger children will be advisory only.

Mr O’Brien told reporters that current measures are working.

“I would say that we have seen the stabilisation in the rate. We’ve seen reduction in hospitalisations as well.”

Ministers are expected to advise parents to limit the amount of socialising among children outside school. 

On his way into Cabinet on Tuesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin urged people to follow the public health advice.

“Vigilance is important. I want to thank the people for the degree to which they have moderated behaviour while in terms of socialisation.

“That is the message for the next number of weeks.

“All of us would continue to moderate and reduce our socialisation in a sensible way to get the overall numbers down and turn the curve of this Delta wave.”

Members of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) met party leaders on Monday to discuss the latest Covid situation in Ireland.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said on Monday that it is “likely” the new Omicron variant is now in Ireland and there are already some suspected cases.

A further 4,607 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed on Monday.

According to the latest figures, there are 579 Covid-positive patients in hospital, of whom 115 are in intensive care.

On Tuesday morning, the Children’s Ombudsman, Dr Niall Muldoon, said any restrictions on children must be “appropriate and proportionate”.

“Children have never been found wanting in doing what’s asked of them in relation to this crisis,” he said.

“But it’s been extremely stressful for children over the last 18 months, nearly two years.”

He said it will be the second Christmas that children are being asked to avoid parties and their friends.

“That is developmentally important for children, that they meet people outside the school setting,” Dr Muldoon told RTE radio.

“However, we still have to balance that with making sure we keep the schools open.”

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Republic of Ireland news