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Ireland's 'Green List' to continue with zero countries as Ryanair slashes winter flights

After agreeing to adopt the EU's 'traffic light' travel system this week, Government will decide how to implement it next Tuesday, Pól Ó Conghaile reports

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Aircraft grounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the apron at Manchester Airport this year. Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Aircraft grounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the apron at Manchester Airport this year. Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

AFP via Getty Images

Aircraft grounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the apron at Manchester Airport this year. Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

There will be no countries on Ireland's 'Green List' next week.

That makes it the second week running in which zero countries have met the threshold for inclusion - a 14-day cumulative rate of less than 25 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 - the Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed.

The list is an interim measure and expected to evolve following Ireland's adoption of the EU 'traffic light' system for travel this week.

The EU system is non-binding and member states are now deciding for themselves how to implement it - and whether to require quarantine or testing for travellers from 'red' or 'orange' countries.

Ireland will finalise its approach at next Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.

The decision will give "certainty to airlines and to the travelling public", Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney told RTE's Morning Ireland - but airlines themselves have questioned that.

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Source: Council of the European Union

Source: Council of the European Union

Source: Council of the European Union

Leaving member states to decide on quarantine and testing strategies "effectively means borders remain closed", a joint statement by Aviation bodies ACI Europe, Airlines for Europe (A4E) and IATA said.

Quarantines have been criticised as a major deterrent to travel.

Meanwhile, Ryanair said it will axe one in three of its winter flights - from a schedule already reduced to 60pc of normal capacity - and close bases at Cork and Shannon.

Ireland West Airport said Ryanair had also cut its winter schedule at Knock by 80pc.

"While we deeply regret these winter schedule cuts, they have been forced upon us by Government mismanagement of EU air travel," said the airline's CEO, Michael O'Leary.

He urged EU governments to "immediately and fully" adopt the traffic light system.

With cases surging in Europe, however, most countries now have case rates far above the 'red' threshold of 50 per 100,000, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Just five qualify as 'orange'.

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