In May 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the British and Irish governments announced measures requiring incoming travellers to ‘self-isolate’ upon arrival. These measures are part of government plans to ease lockdown and are intended to manage the risk of transmissions being reintroduced from abroad as international travel restrictions are eased.
We have drafted a briefing note examining the implications of these measures for movement within the Common Travel Area (CTA) between the UK and Ireland.
Our submission draws attention to a number of ambiguities in the current arrangements, which have yet to be addressed. These ambiguities have been caused in part by the different approaches being taken by the UK and Irish governments, including the use of incompatible contact tracing apps across the two jurisdictions.
The current uncertainty means that some passengers entering Northern Ireland – or elsewhere from outside the CTA – may not be subject to self-isolation requirements. This could create public health risks, which would be heightened if persons intentionally seek to evade self-isolation requirements using CTA routes. There is also a risk that racial profiling may occur, with only certain passengers traveling within the CTA being asked to prove their final destination.
Unless prompt remedial action is taken, these problems will only become more pronounced as the roadmaps are taken forward and travel begins to increase within the CTA.
The full submission can be read here.