Taoiseach: 'Free-for-all' lifting of English Covid restrictions may spill into Ireland

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Taoiseach: 'Free-For-All' Lifting Of English Covid Restrictions May Spill Into Ireland
The Taoiseach expressed concern over his British counterpart's plan to lift all Covid restrictions in England amid a surge of Delta variant infections. Photo: PA Images.
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Taoiseach Micheál Martin has described the plan to lift all Covid-19 restrictions in England as a concerning “free-for-all”.

Mr Martin expressed concern over his British counterpart Boris Johnson's reopening plan, which will see restrictions lift in England from July 19th amid already soaring numbers of Delta variant infections.

British Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said that the country could see case numbers rise to 100,000 new infections each day later in the summer.

Mr Martin suggested the British government’s decision to lift restrictions could have impacts that would “spill over fairly quickly” into Ireland.

“I do think, in respect of the UK, I am concerned about the free-for-all that seems to be developing within the UK, and that does raise issues for us, as a people and as a country, because we’re next door neighbours and what happens in the UK can spill over fairly quickly,” he said.

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“Our public health advice would be that that’s not the way to go.”

'Dangerous and unethical experiment'

It comes the Minister for Transport said travel between Ireland and Britain will be "much easier" from July 19th.

Passengers arriving into the Republic from Britain who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will not be required to quarantine at home from that date, Eamon Ryan has confirmed.

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Meanwhile, more than 100 scientists and doctors have signed a letter accusing the UK government of conducting a “dangerous and unethical experiment” and urging it to reconsider its plans to abandon all restrictions.

They warned that an exponential growth of the virus “will likely continue until millions more are infected, leaving hundreds of thousands with long-term illness and disability”.

They also stressed there was a risk of long Covid to the wider population, especially those who were vulnerable, younger people and children, as well as people who were unvaccinated.

In the Republic, the chief of the HSE has said that the growth of the Delta variant is likely to “outmatch” the supply of vaccines over the coming weeks.

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