Madrid Desk, Dec 23 (efe-epa).- The discovery of a new highly infectious strain of coronavirus in the United Kingdom has caused severe travel disruption in the European Union, where some countries have extended border closures for UK travelers, while others have lifted the travel bans, albeit with restrictions remaining in place.
The new mutation has already been detected in several EU countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark, while officials in Ireland are presuming that the strain is already spreading in the country, although they have not yet confirmed that.
About 30,000 people who have arrived in Ireland from the United Kingdom since December 8 must undergo a “strict” 14-day quarantine and be “isolated in their rooms”.
The head doctor of the Irish Health Service (HSE), Colm Henry, said Wednesday that the new recommendation is “painful, but necessary”, especially for those who arrived in this country after December 10, as they will have to spend Christmas Day in isolation.
“Until now, the advice would have been for people coming from Scotland, Wales or England to restrict their movements for 14 days after arrival.
“Now, the advice is to self isolate, and I appreciate not just how inconvenient this is, but how painful this must be for people who have waited so long to come home.”
Henry told public broadcaster RTE that self-isolating means “staying in your room” except for essential purposes.
“It is difficult, it is painful. But we have learned to our cost that delay in taking a necessary action to prevent transmission, we will pay for it if we do.”
Authorities estimate that about 30,000 people have traveled to Ireland from Britain since December 8. Henry said that monitoring and contact tracing systems would be strengthened to ensure that most comply with the new restrictions.