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'Green list' of countries that Irish people can travel to due by 9 July

Varadkar gave the green light for Phase Three of the lifting of coronavirus restrictions to go ahead from Monday.

Image: PA

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has confirmed that travel restrictions between Ireland and some other countries will be lifted on 9 July. 

Varadkar said that a “green list” of countries will be published by 9 July, in coordination with the EU, but cautioned that it will subject to change and updated every two weeks. 

For people who travel to the countries that are on the green list, the 14-day quarantine will not apply. 

“There’s no single criteria that will be used, but it’ll be a mix of epidemiological criteria that will be used to create that list of countries,” Varadkar said.

“But I do need to caution people that that list of countries will be reviewed and will change, and may change every two weeks, so we may see it getting longer, but if another if a country ends up having a second wave or are there particular spikes then they may be taken off our list as well.”

Currently, people who arrive in Ireland from abroad – including people resident here – are asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Everyone who arrives here from another country must fill out a Covid-19 passenger locator form, and provide details on where they intend to self-isolate. 

The two-week quarantine rule sparked anger among airlines, including Aer Lingus and Ryanair, which claimed it was unnecessary and effectively unenforceable.

As part of the lifting of foreign travel restrictions, checks and controls at ports and airports will be increased, and the passenger locator form will go online.

“It’s a much better way of making sure we get the accurate data from people that they fill it in. As they check-in online. A couple of other changes in the airports as well,” Varadkar said. 

The Taoiseach confirmed that temperature checking and testing people coming into the country may also be considered at a later date. 

“Testing isn’t ruled out but it’s far from straightforward. You know, it takes time.

“If we had a rapid test that was accurate that would be a different thing. We don’t have that yet so that’s unlikely to form part of the solutions, that’s not to say it might be later on.”

Airbridges

The EU has encouraged member states to seek out such arrangements in order to allow for some travel for citizens during the summer months and beyond, so it could be the case that air bridges are developed with a number of other countries in the future.

With new cases in the likes of Spain and Italy still high, they may not be among the first countries Ireland agrees on an air bridge with. 

TheJournal.ie previously reported that air bridge deals could be struck with France, Portugal, Germany, and perhaps Greece.

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Other countries, such as the UK, are also exploring the idea of creating links with nations to allow citizens to pass freely without any Covid-related restrictions placed upon them.

The Taoiseach said when it comes to creating an air bridge with Britain, it will depend on the number of cases but added that there will always be an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. 

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Adam Daly

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