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Tanaiste Leo Varadkar confirms travel restrictions expected as new Covid variant emerges

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Some flights are going to be banned in a desperate attempt to keep a new Covid variant at bay.

This will be part of new travel restrictions that will be announced to keep the new Covid strain out of Ireland.

Leo Varadkar has promised the Government will “act quickly” to keep the latest variant from South Africa and Israel from reaching our shores.

The Cabinet is on a war footing after news of the new variant reached the Government late on Thursday night.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, issued a late night press release at 11pm saying he was “deeply concerned” about the news.



Tanaiste Leo Varadkar.
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar.

The timing of the press release was in itself unusual, indicating the seriousness of the matter.

Mr Varadkar said on Friday afternoon: “We don’t know much about this variant yet, we don’t yet know if it’s going to be a variant of concern, but given our experience with the Delta variant that originated in India, I think governments in the UK and Europe were slow to act on that, we want to make sure that we’re not slow to act on this occasion.

“So we’re going to act quickly.

“Minister (for Foreign Affairs, Simon) Coveney, Minister Donnelly and Minister (Eamon) Ryan are conferring at the moment and we expect them to make an announcement on travel restrictions later in the day.”

Mr Varadkar was speaking at the announcement of a €250million investment by Penneys in its expansion, which will see 700 new jobs in their stores.

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