This week the cabinet agreed to bring Ireland into line with the EU traffic light system.
As part of the plan, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control will publish a weekly map of the EU using a three-tier color system to indicate risk in each area.
Values are determined by a variety of epidemiological factors, including the 14-day incidence per 100,000 population and the level of positive tests.
A fourth color, gray, is assigned to areas with insufficient data.
Travelers coming from a red, orange, or gray zone may need to be quarantined or tested for Covid-19 when entering a country, while travelers coming from a green zone may not face any action.
Hildegarde Naughton, junior secretary of transport, said a high-level technical group within the departments would monitor this bi-weekly.
Many countries across Europe, including Ireland, are currently on a red list, she explained.
“For countries with orange and red lists, we ask people to limit their movements for 14 days, as is currently the case for all travelers. For countries with an orange list there is an exception to movement restrictions if the person takes a validated test before departure.
“The demand for Red List countries remains unchanged, and people need to restrict their movements,” she said.
The high level technical group will review and evaluate the types of tests Ireland is running.
While she said the PCR test was the “gold standard”, other possible test types that may be available or may be validated in the future are being worked on.
“We want to leave that open so we can potentially use it for pre-departure testing,” she said.
On the timeline, the minister said the country requirements for the amber list will go into effect on Sunday November 8th at midnight with a pre-departure test for people traveling from counties on the amber list.
“The Red List countries like Ireland will be like the way people have to restrict their movements for 14 days right now. The high-level technical group will look at testing procedures for Red List countries and how they work, ”she added.
She said the government’s decision on testing will help open connectivity in a safe manner while complying with all health protocols and will help people like Shannon Airport.
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“We must be aware that most of Europe is now made up of red zone countries. However, now is a good time to start planning and preparing this pre-flight test regime, ”she said.
Last week, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar admitted that the PCR swab currently in use costs almost 150 to 200 euros per test, while rapid tests were much cheaper. Such tests are used in Germany and other airports in Europe.
Varadkar said Nphet and the government advisory committee are considering the issue. “However, I will encourage you to make this decision as soon as possible. Decisions about face covering were made slowly. They shouldn’t be made slow. ”
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