Committee expected to advise no quarantine period for ‘red’ region arrivals

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The Oireachtas Transport Committee is expected to make the recommendation in a report published today. Photo: PA.
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By Digital Desk Staff

The Oireachtas Transport Committee is expected to recommend that the current period of self-isolation for those arriving from countries with high levels of Covid-19 be lifted.

There have been calls for travel rules to be relaxed for people arriving on the island from regions designation as “red” under the EU traffic light system.

“Red” indicates a 14-day incidence rate of the virus per 100,000 population greater than 50 and a positivity rate from all Covid-19 tests of over four per cent, or a 14-day notification rate higher than 150 cases per 100,000.

Most of Europe is currently designated red under the system, while Ireland is designated the lower risk level of “orange” due to reduced levels of the disease circulating.

The suggested change would mean arrivals from “red” regions would no longer have to self-isolate upon arriving in Ireland, provided they have tested negative for Covid-19 three days before departure.

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Arrivals from countries listed as “red” are currently asked to self-isolate upon arrival in the Republic, with the option for the 14-day quarantine period to be exited early with a negative test for the disease on Day 5.

Recommendations

The change is expected to be among the recommendations in a new report from the Oireachtas Transport Committee published Wednesday.

Chair of the committee, Kieran O'Donnell, said it also hopes to ensure testing is affordable.

“We’re also looking at ways that they would be fast-tracking the research around antigen testing which is a more inexpensive form of testing,” he said.

“We were very conscious of the affordability factor around PCR testing and we’ll be making a very definite recommendation in terms of the maximum cost it should be charged on travellers.”

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PCR testing is considered the “gold standard” for accuracy in Covid-19 testing.

It comes as the Government renewed its appeal for Irish people living abroad to skip a return home for Christmas this year in recent days.

Those still considering travelling to the island for the festive period should only do so if it is absolutely essential, a government spokeswoman said on Monday.

A leading epidemiologist has previously warned that infection risks associated with the widespread movement of people back to Ireland for Christmas would be a recipe for disaster.

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