A DAY after Priti Patel announced the UK’s first blanket quarantine from June 8, the transport secretary has denied that travellers can avoid two weeks of self-isolation by travelling via Ireland.
A spokesperson for the Home Office confirmed: “Anyone travelling from Ireland will be exempt.” The Home Office regulations exempt arrivals from the Common Travel Area – comprising Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
This exposes several ways in which travellers could avoid quarantine by travelling via Dublin. None involves staying overnight, which would breach Ireland’s strict lockdown rules. But Grant Shapps dismissed the so-called ‘Dublin dodge,’ saying: “The point that people may not be aware of is that Ireland has a travel ban effectively as well, so they also have a quarantine in place.
“So it is the case that that may change in the future. Of course, we’ll keep our system under review in the future. But for the time being whether somebody travels to Dublin or somebody travels to London, the same essential quarantine system would apply.”
The current Foreign Office travel advice for Ireland initially concurs, saying: “All arrivals from overseas, including Irish residents, are asked to self-isolate for 14 days.”
But in contradiction adds: “This does not apply if you are returning to Ireland from Northern Ireland, transiting via an Irish airport on your way to another country.”
The government believes that travellers trying to bypass the loopholes will be breaching the spirit of the quarantine rules. “However, given the high levels of compliance we have seen to date, we expect that the majority of people will do the right thing and abide by these measures.”