Ireland’s Government has released its “green list” of destinations for safe travel, which included Italy and Greece. However, the UK has been excluded despite being Ireland’s neighbour. Visitors arriving from Malta, Finland, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Slovakia, Greece, Greenland, Gibraltar, Monaco and San Marino will not be required to isolate for 14 days on arrival into Ireland.
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Others arriving from overseas – with limited exceptions such as essential supply chain workers – are required to fill in a passenger locator form and self-isolate for 14 days.
People crossing the border from Northern Ireland are not subject to restrictions on their movement.
The list was published just before midnight on Tuesday after a Cabinet meeting.
The UK and the US were expected to be excluded, as only places with a coronavirus infection rate the same or lower than Ireland were permitted to be on the list.
Holiday destinations such as France, Spain and Portugal have also been omitted in a huge blow for Ireland’s keen holidaymakers.
The Government said it would “continue with plans to strengthen the existing measures for monitoring passengers who arrive into Ireland”.
They also said that they will introduce an electronic passenger locator form, enhanced follow-up procedures and a proposed testing regime for symptomatic passengers at airports and ports.
It added that it would consider processes to restrict flights “in certain circumstances”.
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“The pandemic is not over and the public health advice remains the same. The safest thing to do is not to travel,” the Government statement said.
The Government has been accused of mixed messaging as it has published the list despite still recommending against non-essential travel to anywhere outside the island of Ireland.
The news impacted airlines last week after Ryanair announced it would be cutting 1,000 flights from Ireland in August and September.
A Ryanair spokeswoman said in a statement: “When the UK and Northern Ireland removed travel restrictions on short haul flights to/from the European Union, Ireland became the only country in the EU with a blanket 14 day quarantine restriction on all arrivals from EU countries, most of which have lower Covid case rates than Ireland.”
It added: “Ryanair will significantly reduce its flights between Ireland and the UK in August & September, to reflect this suppressed demand.”
Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shortall said the “big weakness” in Ireland’s pandemic response is the failure to control the importation of the virus from abroad.
She said: “The promised announcement of the green list for countries considered as safe while at the same time advising against all non-essential travel is inherently contradictory.
“But of much more concern is the Government’s ambiguity about travel from countries that are not on the green list.
“Not only has the Government operated a self-isolate policy which has been largely unenforceable over recent months, but, inexplicably, in the last few weeks the travel advice has actually changed and weakened for those countries.
“Incoming travellers are now advised to merely restrict their movements.
“This poses a huge risk to our health, the lives of our vulnerable and to our economy.”
Ireland has had 25,802 coronavirus cases.
The country’s death toll is 1,753.
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