Travellers flying to Ireland will have to produce a negative Covid-19 test on arrival, under new plans being considered by the Government.
hose who produce a negative laboratory test will avoid any quarantine period on arrival but will still have to adhere to local regulations linked to the Living with Covid plan. There is also a debate in Government over whether rapid testing can be used for travellers arriving without a negative test.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has concerns about using rapid testing facilities for checking people arriving in Ireland.
However, consideration is being given to allowing people take so-called antigen tests when they land. They would also be asked to restrict their movements for a period of time. The Government is eager to make travel into Ireland as easy and safe as possible to boost the tourism industry.
This could see the quarantine period for people who arrive in Ireland without a negative test reduced to between four and seven days, while they await the outcome of rapid Covid test.
The Cabinet is due to consider the issue next week.
Ireland, along with the rest of the EU member states, have signed up to a new ‘traffic light’ travel system.
People from countries with 25 new cases per 100,000 people over a two-week period will be given a green light and will be free to travel into Ireland without any restrictions.
Travellers from amber, red or grey (where the testing regime is not trusted) countries may have to undergo Covid tests when they arrive in Ireland and also self-isolate.
Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said Cabinet will decide how to implement the traffic light system next Tuesday.
“The goal is to give airlines and the travelling public certainty as to what they need to do to be able to travel,” he told the Dáil.
Mr Ryan said he would like to see a “whole range of different testing systems” in place in airports subject to certification by health authorities.
“Our intention is to introduce, similar to other countries, a validation system, which would allow us get better public health outcomes and allow passengers not to have to restrict their movements for two weeks if they come in,” he said.
He said testing could be done at airports or other locations in advance of flying in, as happens in Germany.
He said the Dublin Airport Authority had done work on providing capacity.
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