Irish Minister for Health Simon Harris said yesterday that it would be highly unlikely that Irish people would be able to travel abroad in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Harris said that the current government advice was not to leave the island of Ireland and added that anyone traveling into Ireland has to self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of nationality or country of origin. 

“At the moment, it is not looking good for foreign travel. The advice still remains that should not leave the island of Ireland,” Harris said on Saturday. 

"Being truthful to people, it is looking highly unlikely this year." 

The Minister for Health said that most countries in the world were advising citizens not to travel during the pandemic and warned Irish people that they would have to self-isolate for two weeks, even if they could book vacations abroad. 

"All of a sudden, your two week holiday becomes four weeks," Harris said. 

Harris said that he wants to bring in regulations to make it mandatory for anyone traveling into Ireland to self-isolate for two weeks.

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At present, travelers in Irish ports and airports are asked to commit to two weeks of self-isolation on passenger forms. The Public Health Passenger Locator Form asks passengers for their contact details and the address where they will be self-isolating. 

Harris wants to make that commitment to self-isolation mandatory through regulation. 

"We now have a measure in our airports, that when you come in now you fill in a passenger form where you are committing to self isolate for 14 days. That’s whether you’re Irish, or not, regardless.

“The Taoiseach has asked a number of ministries to consider with the Attorney General whether we need to underpin that form by regulation and we will make a decision on that in the coming weeks.”

Harris stressed the importance of self-isolation for anyone traveling into Ireland. 

"We could be doing everything right here. We need to make sure that we don’t
import the virus."

Read more: WATCH: Ireland's Health Minister answers children’s questions about coronavirus

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