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Visitors may be told to take Covid test before travel

    

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Travel man: Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Travel man: Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Travel man: Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Visitors from countries deemed to have high levels of Covid-19 may be required to produce a negative test for the virus before they can travel to Ireland.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said passengers from so-called 'red list' countries may be required to provide a certificate showing they have tested negative for Covid-19 in the past 48 hours before they are permitted to board a plane to Ireland.

Mr Coveney said: "They may be able to get tested in a credible way 48 hours before coming, and then effectively have a certification that shows that they've tested negative before coming to Ireland. I certainly think that would be very helpful if we could put a system like that in place and a country like Austria, for example, is doing that at the moment."

The minister added that a decision on increasing travel restrictions for countries deemed Covid-19 hotspots will be taken by Cabinet in the coming weeks.

Mr Coveney also defended the Government's messaging around the 'green list' of countries exempt from quarantine rules. He said there is a "general message" from Government that "the safest course of action for you and your family" is not to travel and that "holidaying at home makes sense".

"We also have an obligation to recognise that there will be some international travel, people will choose to travel," he added.

"We have an obligation to give them accurate information based on reliable data that can assess the risk."

Mr Coveney added that people have to "distinguish between" the official travel advice from his department - which is based on "data and science and risk" - and the Government's "overarching message" which is based on "Nphet advice and Government advice".

He said he would encourage people not to "create confusion" and urged them to holiday at home.

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