International travellers to NI will have to undergo pre-departure Covid test

The Department of Health has announced changes to NI’s travel rules amid concern over the spread of the Omicron variant.

Jonathan McCambridge
Sunday 05 December 2021 16:17
New rules for people arriving in Northern Ireland from abroad have been announced by the Department of Health (Liam McBurney/PA)
New rules for people arriving in Northern Ireland from abroad have been announced by the Department of Health (Liam McBurney/PA)

Anyone arriving in Northern Ireland from abroad will be required to undergo a pre-departure Covid test from Tuesday, the Department of Health has confirmed.

The changes to international travel for Northern Ireland mirror a similar announcement made on Saturday for England.

The new rules have been announced amid growing concerns over the spread of the Omicron Covid variant.

No cases of Omicron have yet been identified in Northern Ireland, but Health Minister Robin Swann has previously said it is expected that the new strain is already in the region.

Under the new rules, from 4am on Tuesday anyone arriving into Northern Ireland from abroad will be required to take a pre-departure Covid test.

This applies to all travellers aged 12 years old and over, including those who are fully vaccinated.

The Department of Health said it is a temporary measure and will be reviewed prior to December 20.

International travellers will have to provide a negative pre-departure PCR or LFD test taken 48 hours before travelling, in addition to a negative PCR test on or before day two after arrival.

Anyone arriving in Northern Ireland from Tuesday morning from abroad will be required to undergo a pre-departure Covid test (Liam McBurney/PA)

Nigeria has also been added to the red list for international travel from 4am on Monday, meaning all travellers returning to Northern Ireland from there will be required to enter hotel quarantine upon arrival and isolate for 10 days.

Travellers that have arrived from Nigeria in the last 10 days are required to self-isolate, along with other members of the household, and take a PCR test on days two and eight.

These will be provided by NHS Test and Trace.

Other countries currently on Northern Ireland’s red list are Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namiba, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, a further seven deaths of patients who had previously tested positive for Covid-19 have been reported in Northern Ireland.

Another 1,422 cases of the virus were also notified by the Department of Health.

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