One of two new Covid-19 test centres at Dublin Airport will open today, with the second delayed until after the weekend.
The privately-run facilities have been established as part of the EU's new traffic light system for international travel, as several countries now require passengers to provide a negative Covid-19 test before travelling.
Passengers and the general public will be able to take either a drive-through or walk-in test at the Dublin facilities, with the drive-through opening today.
Testing capacity will be up to 12,000 per day, but this will soon be increased to 15,000 per day, according to airport operator the DAA.
The facilities will be operated by healthcare firms Randox and RocDoc, and both PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) testing will be available, with prices starting at €99.
“We have significant capacity in place to implement high volume PCR testing, which is currently the only method of Covid-19 testing recognised and approved by every country worldwide,” Sophie Boyd of the Randox facility said.
RocDoc Chief Executive David Rock said the company had been working with Dublin Airport for more than two months in relation to the new facility and was “pleased to get the go ahead” to begin.
However, the DAA has said member states are not harmonising their testing and quarantine rules, with a centralised European system for Covid-19 testing the best solution for the travel industry.
“We need a centralised European system, whereby you can have the same sorts of tests right across the European Union,” DAA spokesperson Paul O’Kane said.
The Republic has adopted the EU traffic light system on travel, which sees regions designated as green, orange or red based on the level of virus circulating within them. Member states are free to set their own travel restrictions based on these colour codes.
The State is advising the public to “exercise a high degree of caution” if travelling to countries covered by the EU traffic light system. The advice for other countries is to “avoid non-essential” travel.
Currently, people arriving in Ireland from “green” countries do not have to take extra precautions under the traffic light system.
Those coming from “orange” countries or regions will not have to restrict their movements on arrival if they have tested negative no more than three days prior to their arrival.
Passengers arriving in Ireland from so-called red countries currently must restrict their movements for 14 days. From November 29th, they can stop restricting their movements after five days if they have a negative PCR Covid-19 test.
All customers will need to pre-book their test online in advance with Randox or RocDoc, with links to the booking portals available on the Dublin Airport website.
Randox’s walk-through facility will be located in an existing building close to the Terminal 2 multi-storey car park. RocDoc’s drive-through facility will be located in the Express Green car park, which is accessed via the R132 (Old Airport Road).