Stormont Ministers Agree To Relax COVID-19 Pandemic-Related Travel Rules In Northern Ireland
Stormont ministers have agreed to relax COVID-19 pandemic-related rules on international travel in Northern Ireland.
Travel Relaxations Details
As reported by rte.ie, Northern Ireland ministers have agreed to follow a rule change to international travel that has been adopted by other parts of the UK and allow travellers from EU "amber list" countries and the US who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter Northern Ireland without the requirement to quarantine from Monday August 2.
The Stormont Executive has reportedly also decided to allow UEFA VIP guests and Villarreal fans to travel to attend the Super Cup match in Belfast on August 11 without having to quarantine.
Chelsea fans who are travelling from England for the showpiece match were reportedly already exempt from travel restrictions.
Ministers have reportedly also agreed to the return of international cruise travel in and out of Northern Ireland from Saturday July 31.
Additionally, managed isolation arrangements for international students arriving from "red list" countries ahead of the new academic term have reportedly been approved and will come into effect on August 9, and the Executive has reportedly signed off on a bespoke COVID-19 testing regime for international travellers whose jobs qualify them for quarantine exemptions, which will begin on Monday August 2.
The Executive has reportedly also decided to relax some of the rules and guidance for social distancing.
A one-metre social distancing rule will reportedly apply for all indoor settings, and social distancing will not be required in outdoor settings, but is urged in guidance, which advise that a distance of between one to two metres should be observed.
Ministers have reportedly also extended a decision that was announced earlier this week on permitting theatres and concert halls to reopen to cover other indoor venues, such as hotel function rooms and community halls.
There will reportedly be no restriction on music volume level, but dancing will not be permitted at indoor events and a social distance of one metre will be required.
Decisions about the use of face coverings in schools and whether to permit the return of conferences and exhibitions have reportedly been pushed back to the Executive's next scheduled meeting on August 12.
Increasing Positive COVID-19 Case Numbers
The weekly update from senior health officials reportedly informed ministers of evidence that increasing positive COVID-19 case numbers in Northern Ireland may have "plateaued" in recent days.
Two explanations are reportedly offered for this - altered behaviours due to good weather or higher levels of immunity among younger people. If the former is correct, the advisors reportedly predict that case numbers will begin to increase again, and if it is the latter is correct, they reportedly expect a gradual decrease in case numbers.
Ministers will reportedly also be told that the Delta variant of COVID-19 now accounts for 90% of COVID-19 cases in Northern Ireland.
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