A former World Health Organisation (WHO) chief has branded new quarantine regulations for travellers as bizarre, as police here confirm they are still in discussions around enforcement of the rules.
Professor Karol Sikora was speaking as a new two-week quarantine period for anyone arriving in the UK comes into force today.
While the rules do not apply to the Common Travel Area (CTA), anyone arriving into the UK from abroad via plane, ferry or train, will be required to provide an address from which they can self-isolate for 14 days.
Fines of £100 can be issued to travellers who do not correctly fill in the forms, with surprise visits by police potentially leading to fines of up to £1,000 in England for individuals breaking the rules.
The regulations do not affect travel between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
Overseas visitors arriving at Dublin Airport will be required to fill a passenger locator form.
But those heading straight to Northern Ireland do not have to state where they are staying to self-isolate.
It is not yet known how information between the two jurisdictions will be shared.
Travellers arriving in the UK from within the Common Travel Area - which includes the Republic, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands - will not need to self-isolate unless they have arrived in the CTA in the last 14 days.
This closes the so-called 'Dublin dodge', a loophole that would have allowed passengers to make a quick trip to the Irish capital and claim exemption.
Guidance released by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland and applying from today continues to advise that travel to other parts of the UK and Irish Republic "should only be undertaken if necessary".
"England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland have their own specific restrictions which may differ from the NI regulations. You must adhere to the regulations in force in these jurisdictions during your visit," it states.
"If you travel to England, Scotland or Wales by air or sea you will not be required to self-isolate for 14 days on your return to Northern Ireland.
"If you travel to the Republic of Ireland you will not be required to self-isolate for 14 days on your return to Northern Ireland.
"You are strongly advised not to book foreign travel or travel abroad unless it is essential."
Responding to the timing of the new rules and the possible confusion around cross-border arrangements, Professor Sikora said: "The whole quarantine thing is bizarre. It's a very strange rule.
"Nobody's going on holiday but there will be a few people who will test out the system.
"Britain has put quarantine in far too late. It's ridiculous. If you're going to do it, it should have been done four weeks ago. Not now. This is just silly. It's just tokenism.
"It's unenforceable. Nobody's going to be travelling if they don't have to at the moment. People aren't looking to go on holiday, but if they do, they'll try and go by Dublin."
He also added that he believed the steps had been taken for political rather than scientific reasons.
"The government won't release the scientific evidence; Home Secretary Priti Patel refused to give the evidence. Even the government's Chief Scientist won't say why. It's all front stage politics," he added.
While the role of the police and level of fines in England have been announced, the PSNI confirmed yesterday that Stormont has yet to set out the exact enforcement arrangements here despite the rules now coming into force.
A PSNI spokesperson said: "In line with the UK national approach there is a proposed role for policing in the enforcement of the 14-day self-isolation restrictions.
"The exact nature of this role remains under discussion with the relevant departments and the Police Service."
Meanwhile, a group of the UK's biggest aviation companies have come together as one to criticise the regulations and suggested that they could lead to thousands of job losses in the industry.
Yesterday, a spokesperson from Ryanair - speaking on behalf of the budget airline, British Airways and easyJet - claimed that the measures are "disproportionate and unfair on British citizens as well as international visitors arriving in the UK".
"We challenge the UK Government on a number of defective measures, including the fact that this quarantine is more stringent than the guidelines applied to people who actually have Covid-19," they said.
"We urge the UK Government to remove this ineffective visitor quarantine which will have a devastating effect on UK's tourism industry and will destroy (even more) thousands of jobs in this unprecedented crisis".