DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland on Tuesday announced new rules that are likely to reduce the popular holiday destinations Greece and Italy from a quarantined green list and leave some of Europe’s toughest restrictions for another month.
Countries with 14-day COVID-19 infection rates below 25 per 100,000 will be placed on a Green List that will exclude arrivals from those countries from quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Ireland.
The green list originally consisted of countries with lower infection rates than Ireland, but the government stopped updating it in August when the infection rate in Irelands increased significantly and the list of 10 countries has since been frozen.
The government has not yet published the new green list, but only 10 of the 31 countries monitored by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control figures were below 25 cases for the 100,000 level on Tuesday.
Greece and Italy, which are on the current list, were above that level.
Ryanair, which has taken legal action in an effort to force the government to ease its restrictions, condemned Tuesday’s announcement as more delay and indecision.
It has threatened to close its bases at the country’s second and third largest airports, Shannon and Cork, for the winter if travel restrictions are not eased.
Ireland has recorded 48.5 cases per 100,000 people in the last 14 days, the 17th highest of the 31 countries monitored by the ECDC.
Prime Minister Micheal Martin said Ireland plans to adopt an EU-coordinated system of travel restrictions after they are approved at a meeting of EU ministers on 13 October.
Draft guidelines published earlier this month suggest those guidelines would remove travel restrictions in countries with 14-day infection rates below 50 per 100,000.
Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Jon Boyle and Gareth Jones
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