THE IRISH government looks set to ban non-essential travel from countries like the US and Brazil with high rates of Covid-19.
New proposals being put forward by the Department of Heatlh, would see visitors from coronavirus hotspots around the world put on a special “red list”.
Speaking to the Sunday Independent, a spokesperson for the Minister for Health said Stephen Donnelly is proposing the change, which would not impact the current green list system in place.
The comments come a day after the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) reiterated its recommendation for the introduction of a mandatory quarantine for all passengers arriving in Ireland from overseas.
In the letter, published by The Irish Times, the State’s public health team urged the Government to consider the implementation of a ban on non-essential travel from countries with high rates of Covid-19.
It said: “While this remains NPHET’s preferred recommendation, if this is deemed unworkable or disproportionate, the NPHET again recommends that consideration is given to the introduction of a travel ban on non-essential travel for those countries with particularly high incidence rates.”
Ireland currently has no travel bans in place.
However, there have been growing calls for tighter restrictions following reports of US tourists flouting Ireland’s two-week quarantine rules in place for anyone arriving into the country.
Last month, American tourists were reported in some of Ireland's most popular tourist spots-- several of which have said they did not self-isolate upon arrival.
Irish restauranteur JP McMahon wrote on Twitter that staff in his Galway restaurant Cava Bodega were left feeling "very uncomfortable" after a group of people from Texas dined in their restaurant.
"We have no way of knowing if they just arrived and should be self-quarantining," he wrote.
"We need a decision on this, particularly if people are coming from places with high cases."
Another popular Galway bar and restaurant, The King's Head, which usually welcomes tourists with open arms, said "we refused a group of Americans yesterday who admitted that they had just flown in".