Promoting Justice /
Protecting Rights

Passenger quarantine and the Common Travel Area (CTA): The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020

A 14 day self-isolation period for incoming passengers to the UK and Ireland has been under discussion for some time to prevent imported cases of Covid-19. CAJ has published a previous briefing paper exploring the complex issues related to operating such a system within the Common Travel Area (the open border zone consisting of the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man, and Channel Islands).

Both the UK and Irish governments have since introduced regulations that address some, but not all of the gaps highlighted in our previous briefing. For example, a loophole remains where travellers resident in Great Britain could evade the Irish government quarantine requirements by diverting their travel through NI, instead of traveling to the South of Ireland directly. Should this happen on a significant scale it could create public health risks at NI airports, as well as at other transport hubs.

Any lack of clarity in the enforcement of these regulations increases the risk of racial profiling and discriminatory practices. Notably, the fines are also much more severe than those provided for under ‘lockdown’ regulations.

We have drafted a second briefing paper exploring all of the outstanding problems related to quarantine and the CTA. It can be downloaded here.

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