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'Traffic light' system for air travel will be 'moot' here until restrictions are eased


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Europe Minister Thomas Byrne has said that much of the EU's new 'traffic light' system for international travel will be "moot" until Ireland is able to ease Level 3 Covid-19 restrictions.

But he said the new system will offer certainty for people who must travel for essential reasons and it offers a framework for how air travel will work when Covid-19 levels here improve.

Mr Byrne will take part in tomorrow's EU General Affairs Council meeting, which is set to sign off on the new system that will see countries categorised as green, orange or red depending on the level of the virus present in their populations.

The intention is that there would be no requirement for 14 days of restricted movements for passengers coming from green and orange countries with lower rates of Covid-19. Mr Byrne last night said of the plan: "While we're in Level 3 and we're told to stay within our own counties a lot of it is moot, but at least it'll be there whenever things change."

He said there would be "ready-made" rules for international travellers to rely on.

Separately, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said Ireland would implement the plan but he could not say when a Covid-19 testing regime would be in place in airports to cater for travel from countries with high rates of the virus.

He told RTÉ Radio that there wasn't the capacity in the health service to cover airport testing on top of the testing currently taking place.

Mr Donnelly said the Government was working on bringing in airport testing and added that he didn't believe any country would be instantly implementing the 'traffic light' system.

He said an option being explored would be for people coming from countries with high Covid-19 rates to take a test at their point of origin.

Irish Independent