Ireland risks a serious coronavirus travel rules clash with Britain over quarantining.
Among the virus lockdown changes announced by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London is an exemption given only to people travelling by plane from the Republic of Ireland and France. They are not bound by the obligation on all other air travellers arriving in Britain to go into a 14-day quarantine.
But sources in Dublin have stressed that the Irish health authorities cannot extend any such courtesy to air travellers arriving from Britain to Ireland. This means British people coming to Ireland, or Irish people returning from a visit there, will be obliged to give their details and self-isolate for 14 days.
“The way the UK is counting cases and deaths is very different than this jurisdiction and they are still not testing in the community. Yet, Britain still has the worst situation on coronavirus in the world right now,” a well-placed source said.
“We are just not in a position to reciprocate in all the circumstances.”
However, people can still travel freely to and from Northern Ireland.
In his TV address last night, Mr Johnson announced only small changes to the UK lockdown and raised hopes of more with a new mantra “Stay alert, control the virus, save lives.”
The prime minister announced a three-phased change to coronavirus measures in England. Variations were allowed for the other parts of the UK - Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Mr Johnson described it as his "conditional plan", working on the assumption there were continued improvements in the battle against coronavirus.
From today, the authorities are encouraging people who cannot work from home to go back to work but avoid public transport where possible.
From Wednesday, people will be allowed unlimited open-air exercise, access to local parks and travel but they may only associate with members of the same household.
From June 1 there will be a phased opening of primary schools and some contact between second-level teachers and pupils, and some shops reopening.
In July, it is envisaged there will be some reopening of hospitality services.
All air passengers arriving in Britain - with the exception of those travelling from the Republic of Ireland - will have to undergo some kind of quarantine. Following a phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron, this exemption was extended to travellers from France.
More details on the quarantine plan may be issued later today.
Labour Party leader and health spokesman Alan Kelly said there can be no question at this stage of Ireland reciprocating the British gesture on no quarantine for Irish travellers.
"The British Conservative government have really mismanaged the response to this crisis and we have a duty of care to the people in this jurisdiction who have made sacrifices to help fight this scourge," Mr Kelly told the Irish Independent.
UK health experts expressed concern that the new slogan - changed from "stay at home" to "stay alert" - lacked clarity and may lead to an increase in "risky behaviour".
The changes come more than six weeks after the UK lockdown of March 23. Then the authorities told people to stay at home and only leave for "very limited" essential purposes including basic food shopping, once-a-day exercise, medical needs and travelling to work, but only when it could not be done from home.
The government slogan then was "Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives".
A No 10 spokesman said the public can "stay alert" by staying at home "as much as possible", "limiting contact with other people" and keeping two metres apart where possible. The social-distance rule of two metres apart still applies along with advice on regular and thorough hand-washing.
Last night, experts warned the phrasing of "stay alert" was unclear and open to misinterpretation and the spread of confusion. The new mantra came amid reports of new spikes of the virus in countries where it had been declining.
China recorded 14 new cases yesterday, its first double-digit rise in more than a week, and South Korea reported 34 more infections, the largest daily increase in over a month.
Germany has also seen some regional spikes and authorities are concerned about a growing number of large anti-lockdown demonstrations.
Leaders of all the UK devolved administrations in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast vowed to continue to endorse the "stay at home" message.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "It is of course for Boris Johnson to decide what's most appropriate for England, but given the critical point we are at in tackling the virus, StayHomeSaveLives remains my clear message to Scotland at this stage."
Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford said his message had not changed, adding: "Staying at home is the best way you can protect yourself and others."
Northern Irish First Minister Arlene Foster took the same view, saying: "On the whole, the message is to stay at home. We will say we are not deviating from the message at this time."