Ireland slashes quarantine period for travel ahead of Christmas

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With travel anticipated to pick up in the Christmas period, Ireland’s Government has made the decision to slash the quarantine period for some arrivals. The new rules will see a “traffic light” system implemented with more testing offered to arrivals.

From Sunday, travellers arriving in Ireland from “orange” countries will no longer have to restrict their movements for 14 days if they can present a negative COVID-19 test on arrival.

The test must have been taken in the three days before arrival.

Furthermore, those arriving from “red” countries have the opportunity to cut their quarantine period down from 14 days to just five.

They will need to take a COVID-19 test, provided by an approved facility, five days after their arrival.

If it is negative, they can waive the rest of their self-isolation period.

Though the testing capabilities are not yet in place, it is anticipated that a plan to establish approved tests for arrivals will be devised on November 10.

The news was announced by Ireland’s Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan.

He presented the ideas to the Transport Committee on Wednesday.

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Mr Ryan stressed the importance of aiding the recovery of the travel industry.

He described it as a “critical enables of the rest of the economy”

“We all want the same thing,” he said.

“We want to have fewer restrictions on international travel and, notwithstanding the very serious upturn in COVID-19 cases across Europe in recent weeks, we need to be preparing the ground now for when that improves and for a time when it makes sense to have people moving more freely around again.”

The traffic light system will be based on data published by the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) each Friday.

Levels will be determined by a number of factors, with a focus on the number of positive COVID-19 cases detected per 100,000 of the population over a 14-day period.

Green countries are those with a rate of fewer than 25 cases per 100,000.

Orange countries are those with an infection rate of 50 or less.

Red countries have more than 50 cases per 100,000 of the population.

At the time of writing, England would be considered in the red zone along with the majority of Europe.

Ireland is currently in lockdown.

The highest level of national restrictions was imposed at midnight on October 21.

The restrictions are to last for six weeks, but cabinet ministers have said they will review them after four.

Under the rules, people may only exercise with 5km of their home, with many non-essential services now shut. Schools however remain open.

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