Ireland likely to strengthen travel restrictions for COVID hotspots

Ireland is likely to enhance and strengthen travel restrictions for countries with a high risk of COVID-19 infections. The announcement was recently made by Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney following the lifting of 14-day quarantine requirement for 15 European countries by the government.

Minister Coveney mentioned that the government would decided whether it should introduce steps beyond the 14-day quarantine from hardest hit areas including a potential requirement to take a coronavirus test before departure in the forthcoming weeks. He mentioned that authorities are looking at countries that may effectively become COVID-19 hotspots in the coming months as well as regions within countries and is also planning to deal with the upcoming risk.

Ireland has reported one of the lower rates of infection in the European Union with around 5 cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days. Earlier this week, the country decided to drop travel restrictions for people arriving Ireland from countries with a similar or lower rate of coronavirus infections. As reported by the government, the “green list” of countries includes Malta, Finland, Norway, Hungary, Italy, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Slovakia, Greenland, Greece, Gibraltar, Monaco and San Marino.

Travellers arriving from these countries will no longer have to restrict their movements or undergo self-isolation upon return. The list is also subjected to review and changing every fortnight and has been made based on advice from officials, including public health experts. The restriction of non-essential travel continues to be applicable for all other countries as of now.

The selected list of countries for Ireland was much shorter as compared to other countries in the Europe include British-run Northern Ireland, which shares an open land border with Ireland where no travel restrictions are imposed. However, the Irish government has mentioned that visitors from any other country outside of those with a ‘Normal Precautions’ advisory will be asked to restrict their movements for 14 days.

It was mentioned that the government will continue with plans to strengthen the existing measures for monitoring passengers who arrive into Ireland, including the introduction of an Electronic Passenger Locator Form, enhanced follow-up procedures, a call centre operated by the Dublin Airport Authority, and a proposed testing regime for symptomatic passengers at airports and ports. It has also been informed that no change to the current policy with regard to travel from Northern Ireland will be made and processes to restrict flight or passenger travel in certain circumstances will also be explored.

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