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Government may issue advice not to travel North of the border

Government may issue advice not to travel North of the border

The Government may recommend for people not to travel north of the border due to the high incidence rate of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

The prospect was raised by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar at a parliamentary party meeting last night in which he said the Government would consider issuing advice not to travel there.

Mr Varadkar said there was an outstanding question over Northern Ireland and whether the Government would advise against any travel there.

The Tánaiste cited the worsening situation with the disease in the North. There have been nearly 2,500 Covid-19 cases in Northern Ireland in the last seven days, including 533 new cases reported on Wednesday.

Sinn Féin said that the Tánaiste’s suggestion was “ludicrous” and “shows just how out of touch Leo Varadkar is with the realities of real life for people living in border communities”.

A spokesperson said: “People living in border areas cross the border on a daily basis to work, study and to care for relatives and that should be allowed to continue in a safe and responsible manner.”

A Government spokesperson said it was likely that the issue would be discussed at the Cabinet sub-committee meeting on Covid-19 this evening.

The committee will assess how and when the Government should ease Level 5 restrictions, ahead of a full and decisive Cabinet meeting tomorrow lunchtime.

Mr Varadkar made it clear yesterday that retail outlets, gyms and services like hairdressers, would be the first to reopen next week.

However, an area which is still under much discussion is when restaurants and gastro-pubs might reopen, and what guidelines might need to be issued to allow for indoor dining.

Restaurants and bars are calling on the Government to let them reopen from next week, however it seems the date is more likely to be 7 December.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin told his parliamentary party last night that his intention is that the country moves from Level 5 restrictions to Level 3, with modifications, and that churches will reopen for mass.