The EU Traffic Light system for international travel will come into effect in Ireland from midnight Sunday.
The Transport Minister has said the exact restrictions faces by passengers arriving into Ireland from red and orange countries will be finalised in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, passengers from 'Orange' countries will not have to quarantine if they have a negative coronavirus test within the three days prior to travel.
Passengers from 'Red' countries will still have to quarantine for two weeks; however, that will be changed "as soon as practicable" to allow them to end their quarantine if they have a negative test five days after arrival.
The Government had previously announced that passengers from 'Green' regions were no longer required to quarantine on arrival in Ireland.
Minister Eamon Ryan announced the changes in his opening address to the Oireachtas Transport Committee this afternoon.
He said children under the age of six will be exempt from the restrictions. The Government will also align with the EU list of passengers who are exempt from travel restrictions - largely healthcare and essential workers.
He also warned that anyone arriving in Ireland must follow the national coronavirus restrictions that are in place.
Minister Ryan said the aviation industry is a “critical enabler of the rest of the economy” and said the Government viewed it as crucial for economic recovery in the coming months.
“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,” he said.
He said the testing system would not interfere with HSE testing capacity and people arriving into the country would be expected to pay for their own test.
Traffic Light System
The system is based on a data published by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) every Friday.
Countries will be designated green, orange or red depending on three criteria:
- The number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over a 14-day period.
- The positivity rate of the COVID-19 tests carried out in the past week.
- The number of COVID-19 tests carried out per 100,000 people.
Under the plan, regions will be designated green if they have a 14-day rate below 25 and a positivity rate below 4%.
Regions with a 14-day below 50 will be designated orange provided their positivity rate is above 4%; however, they can have a 14-day rate as high as 150 if their positivity rate is less than 4%.
All other regions will be designated red.