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Cabinet signs off on all passengers requiring negative PCR test result prior to arrival in Ireland

Erik G

CABINET HAS TODAY agreed that all passengers arriving into Ireland will need a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before departure.

While the Government has yet to formally notify airlines, the new rules will kick in on Saturday.

Travellers from Britain and South Africa have had to provide a negative PCR test since last week.

Arrivals from Great Britain and South Africa will continue to require a negative/not detected PCR test and must continue to isolate for 14 days, even if they take a second test after arrival.

The Cabinet agreed last week that the provision should be extended to all passengers from all countries.

Sources said at the time that such a plan would take longer to roll out, but Cabinet agreed on the new measures this afternoon.

Passengers from green and amber regions will not have to restrict their movements once they have the negative results upon arrival in Ireland.

Those travelling from red regions or grey regions (which are countries not in teh EU traffic light system – such as the US) will need a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before they depart, and they will also have to take a test five days after landing in Ireland.

If they get a clear test after the five days they will no longer have to restrict movements. 

If they do not take a second test they will have to restrict their movements for 14 days. 

Checks will be made by the Border Management Unit at Dublin Airport and by the gardaí at other points of entry.

Passengers flying into Northern Ireland and travelling down to the Republic remains a key concern for the government, though sources welcomed that the UK is also pushing the requirement for a negative test being needed 72 hours prior to departure. 

#JustPublished
Updated 🚦 maps are now online!

These maps aim to support the @EUCouncil recommendation on a coordinated approach to the restriction of #FreeMovement in response to the #COVID19 pandemic in the EU.

Find more here: https://t.co/CcBVx6B0o5 pic.twitter.com/yMZ8AGjZUt

— ECDC (@ECDC_EU) January 7, 2021

A government source said Ireland needs to ensure connectivity for essential travel and cargo is maintained, and that any new rule would be consistent with the EU traffic light system.

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While connectivity is expected to be lost under the travel regime, government sources believe it is the correct position to take with the number of cases so high in the country.

Ireland is signed up to the EU traffic lights approach on international travel.

There are also certain categories of travellers where the travel restrictions do not apply.

Exemptions include international transport workers, including hauliers, pilots and aviation crew, masters and maritime crew, and members of An Garda Síochána in the course of their duties. 

Children under six will also be exempt.

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