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Cabinet to discuss dropping countries from Green List and random testing at airports

Malta and Cyprus are among the countries that may be removed from Ireland’s green list this week.

Image: Shutterstock/DimaBerlin

THE GOVERNMENT IS to discuss changes that need to be made to Ireland’s ‘green list’, and implementing further measures at airports to limit any potential spread of the virus.

If a country is on Ireland’s travel ‘green list’, it means that if a person is flying from any country on this list, they won’t have to restrict their movements after flying into Ireland.

In the past two weeks, the rate of cases per 100,000 has risen in Ireland and other countries – raising the risk of countries like Malta and Cyprus being removed from Ireland’s green list.

Cabinet ministers will this week discuss random testing of passengers at Irish airports, and and the possibility of having to produce a negative Covid-19 test result before flying in a bid to reduce the number of cases being imported – particularly for high-risk Covid-19 areas, such as the United States and the Middle East.

This is added to other measures already announced, like the passenger locator form going online, and a call centre being set up to help with follow-up queries for those who arrive back in the country.

Tomorrow marks 14 days exactly since Ireland’s first green list was published; the government said that it would review the list every two weeks. 

Who’s in and who’s out

Originally, there were 15 countries on the list that had a similar rate of cases: Cyprus, Malta, Finland, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Greece, Gibraltar, Greenland, Monaco, and San Marino.

These countries had a similar number of average cases per 100,000 over 14 days; Ireland has around 4.8 cases per 100,000, while the threshold for the green list requires up to 5 cases per 100,000 of the population.

But things have changed in the past two weeks. 

Ireland now has 8.2 cases per 100,000 calculated through a 14-day cumulative average calculated by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

This would mean that Finland, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania Slovakia, and Greece would remain on the list.

But the following countries will have to be removed from the list: Malta (24 cases per 100,000), and Cyrpus (12 cases per 100,000).

Liechtenstein, with just 5.2 cases per 100,000, could also be added to the list.

If a country is taken off the list, and there are Irish tourists in that country, it is understood that they will have to restrict their movements for 14 days when they return.

There have been over 18 million cases around the world since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. There have been 26,208 cases in Ireland to date, and 1,763 deaths.

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- with reporting from Christina Finn

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