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Publication of green list to be delayed as Cabinet meeting is postponed

Meanwhile, Insurance Ireland said that a green list does not equal relaxation on travel, and non-essential travel is still discouraged.

LAST UPDATE | 19 Jul 2020

INSURANCE IRELAND HAS said that Government advice remains against all non-essential travel and that people planning to book a holiday should confirm they are covered by their insurer before doing so.

Its comments come as the Government is set to publish a ‘green list’ of countries that are safe for people to travel to.

That list was due to be published tomorrow, but the deferral of tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting means that this is most certainly due to be delayed. 

Cabinet has to sign off on the list, but its meeting on the issue won’t take place tomorrow as Taoiseach Micheál Martin is still in Brussels, where an EU summit is taking place

In a statement earlier today, Insurance Ireland said: “Insurance Ireland would advise all would-be travellers planning on booking a holiday to a green list country to check with their insurer whether they are covered first.

“Government advice still remains that only essential travel should be undertaken and we await further clarity on any change to this position.

“A green list does not equate to a relaxation of the non-essential travel policy.”

The Government’s green list of ‘safe countries’ is due to be published tomorrow and will detail the countries that Irish people can travel to without having to restrict their movements for 14 days afterwards when they return to Ireland.

For countries that are not on the green list, there should be no non-essential travel and travellers should restrict their movements for 14 days after returning.

The green list and possible ‘air bridge’ agreements for Ireland have been talked about since the end of May.

Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week today, Professor Gabriel Scally urged tighter controls regarding travel into Ireland. 

“The virus is growing… the pandemic is growing across the world,” he said.

“It’s really reaching crisis point across the world. And for me, it is such an error to leave the door open.

“We should remember that the virus came to Ireland, through international tourists travel and the virus could come back in really substantial numbers from across the world. The controls are not strong enough,” he said. 

On Friday, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney provided some clarity as to which countries might make the cut, stating that the US will not feature on the list, and it is “unlikely” Great Britain will either.  

“We can put people on a green list that we regard as representing no higher risk than Ireland represents,” he said. 

“In other words, travelling to one of these countries wouldn’t be any different to travelling to Kerry, Connemara or Donegal for your holidays,” said Coveney.

In recent days there have been growing concerns in some government circles about the messaging surrounding travel, particularly the advice being pushed by the new government and the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) that the advice against all non-essential travel remains, despite a Green List being due to be published.

Sources state the government’s message once this list is published must be clear: that people can travel to countries on the green list – but they must exercise a high level of caution. 

For countries that are not on the green list, the message must be that there should be no non-essential travel and that people returning must restrict their movements.

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