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Passengers from Ireland may face test under EU's 'traffic light' travel system

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Dr Ronan Glynn. Picture: Collins

Dr Ronan Glynn. Picture: Collins

Colin Keegan

Dr Ronan Glynn. Picture: Collins

Passengers from Ireland may be required to undergo a Covid-19 test before or after arrival in another EU country under a new "traffic light" system aimed at bringing order to foreign travel.

A new green, orange, red and grey system proposed by the EU would rank countries according to their 14-day incidence rate of the virus.

Ireland currently has a rate of 31.2 per 100,0000 and a test positivity rate of 1.3pc and would fall into the orange category.

According to the plan, countries could consider recommending that people travelling from an area classified "orange" undergo at least a Covid-19 test before departure or upon arrival.

"Member states could require persons arriving from an area classified as red, orange or green to submit passenger locator forms, notably those arriving by airplane, in accordance with data protection requirements," it says.

Quarantine

The proposal is aimed at bringing some uniformity to the patchwork of regulations around travel within the EU, including Ireland's 'Green List' of safe countries where people can travel to and not be required to quarantine for 14 days on their return.

It would still be a matter for each country to set its own regulations.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control would produce a weekly map with every region or country's status indicated green, orange or red.

Where justified, member states could consider recommending that persons travelling from an area classified orange undergo at least a Covid-19 test prior to departure or upon arrival.

Member states could require passengers from an area classified as red, orange or green to submit passenger locator forms, notably those arriving by airplane, in accordance with data protection requirements.

Travellers with an essential function or need - such as workers exercising critical occupations, frontier and posted workers, students or journalists performing their duties - should not be required to undergo quarantine.

It comes as another 98 new cases of the virus were diagnosed yesterday, indicating the spread of the virus has stabilised.

There were no new deaths. There have been only four deaths in the past 35 days.

There were 24 new cases in Dublin, 13 in Kildare, eight in Kerry, six in Kilkenny, six in Limerick, six in Louth, five in Tipperary and the remaining 30 cases are in Carlow, Clare, Cork, Galway, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Waterford and Wexford.

Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said: "As we head into another weekend, keep physical distance top of mind at all times.

"Have no more than six visitors to your home and keep two metres between you. Open windows and keep rooms well ventilated if possible.

"It's important we all keep our number of social contacts low while we focus on keeping our schools safe, continuing to resume healthcare services and ultimately protecting the most vulnerable from Covid-19."

Meanwhile, in response to the ongoing high number of cases in Dublin, the HSE said it was opening more pop-up testing centres.

It said that two more would open this weekend in North Inner City Dublin and Dublin West - areas which have seen the highest rise.

Situated at Handball Alley, Croke Park and Castleknock Health Centre, the additional pop-up centres will offer free testing for anyone with coronavirus symptoms, who are referred by a GP.

Their capacity will increase by between 180 to 200 tests per day in conjunction with the centre in Swords.

Irish Independent