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Coronavirus: Travellers arriving in Northern Ireland from Spain to quarantine for 14 days


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Travellers arriving in Northern Ireland from Spain and its islands will have to quarantine for 14 days, the Department of Health has confirmed.

The requirement, announced on Saturday evening, will be in place across the UK and follows a surge in cases in the country.

Spain has reported more than 900 new daily infections for the last two days as authorities warn the country that lost 28,000 lives before getting its outbreak under control could be facing the start of a second major wave of infections.

Health Minister Robin Swann said the decision has been taken following medical and scientific advice and will come into effect from midnight on Saturday.

“The decision to remove Spain from the exempt list was not taken lightly. I have always said I will move swiftly and take the necessary action to ensure our citizens are protected," he said.

"I have spoken with my counterparts across the UK today and we agree that the recent upsurge in new positive cases in different parts of Spain are a cause for concern.

“As of midnight tonight, anyone returning or visiting Northern Ireland from Spain, including its islands will be required to quarantine for 14 days. I will continue to monitor the situation in Spain and other countries and make the changes to the regulations when necessary.”

Meanwhile, confusion remains over the mandatory wearing of face coverings in shops in Northern Ireland.

The Executive said it has given itself powers to make the wearing of coverings in stores mandatory from August 1 but that it will not enforce that law until August 20 in the hope people will wear them voluntarily.

Robin Swann said he remains unconvinced people will wear masks without being forced to do so, while Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon called for a clear message from the Executive on the issue.

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Retail groups Retail NI and the Belfast Chamber had said they were concerned about shop workers being left having to enforce the wearing of coverings — leaving them open to abuse from non-compliant customers.

The news comes ahead of the launch of Northern Ireland's contact tracing app, Stop Covid NI, towards the end of next week.

The app will anonymously alert users if they have been in close contact with another user who has tested positive for the virus.

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland

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