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Irish High Court rules government COVID-19 travel advice is legal

FILE PHOTO: A Ryanair plane takes off from Manchester Airport. Picture taken June 21, 2020. REUTERS/Phil Noble

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland’s High Court ruled on Friday that the government’s advice against non-essential travel to most countries due to the risk of COVID-19 infection was legal, dismissing a case brought by low-cost airline Ryanair.

Ireland has some of the strictest COVID-19 travel advice in Europe, advising against non-essential travel to all but four countries - Cyprus, Finland, Latvia and Liechtenstein. Those four countries however have restrictions on incoming passengers from Ireland.

Passengers from all countries - other than those four - coming into Ireland are advised to restrict their movements for 14 days.

Ryanair described the Irish government measures as “nonsensical” and questioned their legality in a High Court case that rival Aer Lingus also participated in.

“The government acted lawfully in providing travel advice and public health advice in respect of the coronavirus pandemic on a non-statutory basis,” the ruling by Justice Garrett Simons said.

“The advice to avoid non-essential travel and to restrict movements on entry to the State is just that: advice,” the ruling said.

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Alison Williams and Ana Nicolaci da Costa