People arriving into Ireland from EU countries will be free to move around if cleared by a Covid-19 test after just five days, the Government has decided.
In a move seen as highly significant ahead of the traditional Christmas homecoming, the Cabinet has agreed a new range of measures under the EU traffic light system.
Under the system there will be green regions, orange regions, red regions and grey regions across the EU.
This map will be updated every Thursday based on EU epidemiological data and the changes will be applied in Ireland the following Monday.
People arriving from "green" regions with fewer than 25 Covid infections per 100,000 people in the last 14 days do not need to restrict their movements.
Neither do those travelling from "orange" areas if they produce a negative test taken in the previous three days.
"Red" regions – those with infection rates of 50 or more per 100,000 and positive tests of 4 per cent – must restrict their movement for a minimum of five days before they can take a test that, if returned negative, ends their quarantine, the Government said.
Only Greenland is now categorised as a low-risk green region, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), with Finland, Norway and parts of Greece deemed to be orange.
Ireland's 14-day incidence of 152 cases per 100,000 is the fifth lowest of the countries monitored by the ECDC. The rate fell 51 per cent compared to the previous two weeks.