TEST AND TRAVEL: Ireland's quarantine restrictions for international arrivals set to ease this month

TEST AND TRAVEL: Ireland's quarantine restrictions for international arrivals set to ease this month

NEW quarantine rules coming into effect in Ireland this month will allow those arriving from Britain to forgo the full 14-day isolation period by taking a Covid-19 test, which subsequently proves negative.

Ireland announced earlier this month that they would be aligning with the EU ‘traffic light’ system for international travel, which categorises regions in colour codes according to the effectiveness of their controls over the coronavirus.

Under the EU-wide system regions are now classified as green, orange or red.

Green regions are those where there are less than 25 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people, orange includes those with between 25 and 150 cases per 100,000 and red status is given to those nations recording more than 150 cases of Covid-29 per 100,000 people.

Under the traffic light system, arrivals in Ireland from green regions – which includes only Greenland at present – do not have to quarantine.

Those arriving from orange regions - which includes Norway, Finland and parts of Greece - who have taken a negative Covid test three days prior to their departure do not have to quarantine.

And as of Monday, November 30, those arriving from red regions - which is the rest of Europe and Britain, while still in the Brexit transition stages - can avoid the current full 14-day quarantine period by taking a Covid test five days after their arrival which proves negative.

A statement by the Government on November 10 confirmed: “The Government has agreed a range of measures for the purposes of aligning arrangements for international travel with the EU ‘traffic light’ approach, categorising regions according to the effectiveness of controls over COVID 19.”

They add: “From midnight November 29, arrivals from an EU red region will not be expected to restrict movements following receipt of a negative/not-detected result from a Covid-19 PCR test taken a minimum of five days after arrival in Ireland.”

They add: “This provision will also be available to arrivals from orange regions who may not have availed of a pre-departure test.”

While the relaxation of quarantine restrictions may seem good news for those still hoping to travel to Ireland this year, it came in a week where the government asked the Irish abroad not to make plans to return home for Christmas.

Speaking in the Dáil on Thursday, November 12, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar warned: “I know it's a tough message…but we're not in the position at this point to advise people that it's safe to come home for Christmas.”

He added: "International travel is a risk. I think we need to be upfront and honest about that."

His sentiments were echoed by Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan, who stated: "We would feel the kind of travel that would normally happen at Christmas time, people coming back to spend time with their loved ones, which we all understand and facilitate, we regard as non-essential for this Christmas.”