Summary
Due to an increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection rates, authorities will tighten restrictions in Northern Ireland from Oct. 16. From 1800 Oct. 16 the following restrictions will be in effect:

 

  • Social bubbles will be limited to 10 people from two different households.
  • All food and beverage establishments will close, except for delivery and takeout until 2300
  • Indoor sports, as well as contact sports involving members of different households, will be suspended.
  • Mass events are limited to 15 people.
  • Close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, will be closed.
  • Schools will close for two weeks at least from Oct. 19.
  • Wedding ceremonies and funerals will be limited to 25 people.

 


On Oct. 14, authorities introduced a three-tier alert system in England which will be applied based on localized COVID-19 activity levels. In ascending order, the alert levels are "Medium," "High," and "Very High," with additional restrictions being introduced at the "high" and "very high" alert levels. The medium alert is the country's current minimum level; in these areas, gatherings of more than six people are prohibited and pubs and restaurants must close by 2200. For high alert areas, these restrictions are in place in addition to a ban on indoor mixing of households; this currently applies to parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Derbyshire, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Durham, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Tees Valley, West Midlands, Leicestershire, and Nottinghamshire. Additional restrictions for areas rated as Very High include a complete ban on households mixing indoors or in private outdoor areas and the closure of pubs and bars that do not serve food; this currently applies to the Liverpool City Region.

Each of the UK's constituent countries has authority for imposing its travel and other restrictions, though they have typically remained closely aligned in their actions, with some variations. Specific measures include:

  • Facemasks must be worn in enclosed public spaces.
  • Gatherings of more than six people are prohibited in all countries.
  • Individuals from more than two households are not permitted to gather indoors in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Individuals from more than four households are not permitted to gather indoors in Wales.
  • Wales requires pubs and restaurants to close by 2200 ; in Scotland, such establishments may stay open for indoor service until 1800 and until 2300 for outdoor service.


Restrictions on social activity are tighter in areas with higher COVID-19 activity, which include parts of England as detailed in the three-tier alert system: the health board areas of Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley, Lothian, Ayrshire, and Arran in Scotland; Cardiff, Swansea, Llanelli, Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent, Newport, Neath Port Talbot, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Torfaen, Vale of Glamorgan Caerphilly, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy, and Wrexham in Wales; and Derry City and Strabane District Council area in Northern Ireland.

International entry restrictions remain in effect. Although more than 70 countries and overseas territories - including Australia, Cuba, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, and New Zealand - are exempt from the requirement, international passengers of any nationality arriving from nonexempt locations must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in the UK. Health officials could perform spot checks to ensure compliance. Persons without suitable accommodations are required to stay in facilities arranged by the government at their own expense. Freight drivers and healthcare workers are exempt from the requirement. All international travelers entering the UK must fill out a passenger locator form, providing contact details and their travel history over the previous 14 days. Officials review the measures every three weeks, or on a need-driven basis, in response to significant changes in disease activity abroad.

Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks. Government officials claim that improved COVID-19 data now allows a more targeted approach to imposing quarantine requirements on international arrivals, partly removing the necessity for national-level restrictions.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Arrive at the airport early to prevent your seat from being reallocated to a standby passenger. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

 

Back to the COVID-19 Risk Intelligence & Resource Center