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20th Dec 2020

Irish among millions in London asked not to travel home for Christmas

Rory Cashin

All travel into and out of the region is effectively banned.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced tighter restrictions for London, and the South East and the East of England. These regions, as well as all of Wales, have been put into Tier 4 restrictions.

This prohibits movement into and out of those regions, and international travel unless for work is effectively banned.

These restrictions come into effect from today (Sunday, December 20) until Wednesday, December 30, which will likely have a strong impact on many Irish in London and the other affected areas and their plans to travel to Ireland for Christmas.

Scotland have also banned all travel into and out of the country from other parts of the UK.

However, RTE reports that a spokesperson for the Irish government has said there is currently no change to travel advice from Ireland to Britain.

During his speech to the UK announcing the new restrictions, Johnson said the following:

“Yes, Christmas this year will be different, very different but we must be realistic. We’re sacrificing the chance to see our loved ones. This Christmas. So we have a better chance of protecting their lives, so that we can see them in future Christmases. And as sure as night follows day. We’ll beat back this virus, we’ll defeat it and reclaim our lives.”

This strong and sudden reaction from Johnson is in response to the new variant of the virus, named VUI-202012/01.

The UK’s government’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty had this to say about the new variant:

“As a result of the rapid spread of the new variant, preliminary modelling data and rapidly rising incidence rates in the south-east. The New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group now considers that the new strain can spread more quickly. We have alerted the World Health Organisation and are continuing to analyse the available data to improve our understanding.”

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