Christmas joy as Ireland slashes quarantine for ‘red zone’ British arrivals

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Ireland has confirmed that arrivals from the UK will be allowed to enter the country this Christmas and may even be able to skip 14 days of quarantine in favour of a much shorter stint. The latest update sees the country slashing the need for a lengthy self-isolation period if travellers can provide negative COVID-19 tests on arrival.

Ireland has been using a “traffic light” system since October, which categorised counties based on their “risk”.

Risk is determined by the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in each nation.

Currently, the UK falls into the red zone.

Previously, this mean arrivals must quarantine for 14 days, however, the good news is this is set to change in time for the Christmas period.

Arrivals from the UK are now able to reduce their quarantine period to five days if they can prove they do not have the virus.

As of Monday, November 30, arrivals from “red” regions, which includes the UK, can avoid the full 14-day quarantine period by taking a coronavirus test five days after their arrival.

If this is negative, they are free from quarantine.

The news has been applauded by CEO of the travel consultancy The PC Agency, Paul Charles.

In a Tweet, he said: “Confirmation from #Ireland that anyone arriving from a red zone country after 29th November can be released from quarantine when they have a negative test result at least 5 days after arrival.

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“And of course red zone lists currently include the #UK – so if local restrictions allow, you would be able to visit relatives and friends in #Ireland but quarantine for 5 days + test before seeing them.”

He also hinted that this rule could be utilised in the UK in the coming months.

He added: “Likely that #UK will be similar in December.”

A statement by the Irish government stated: “The Government has agreed a range of measures for the purposes of aligning arrangements for international travel with the EU ‘traffic light’ approach, categorising regions according to the effectiveness of controls over COVID 19.”

It added: “From midnight November 29, arrivals from an EU red region will not be expected to restrict movements following receipt of a negative/not-detected result from a Covid-19 PCR test taken a minimum of five days after arrival in Ireland.

“This provision will also be available to arrivals from orange regions who may not have availed of a pre-departure test.”

In Ireland arrivals from “orange” regions can avoid the 14-day quarantine period by bringing a negative coronavirus PCR test with them on arrival.

Meanwhile, countries from “green” countries do not have to self-isolate. Currently, no countries fall into the “green” category.

All arrivals must also fill out a passenger locator form ahead of their journey.

Since the announcement, many travellers have responded to the news on Twitter.

One person wrote: “I don’t believe reducing quarantine to even 5 days will benefit most travellers though.

“As a self-employed freelancer, whether I’m travelling for work or leisure, I can’t spend ‘at least 5 days’ locked up at home afterwards. And I doubt most families with school kids could either.”

However, one UK resident was eager to see a similar measure being implemented across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

She tweeted: “I hope so as hubby overseas with work and to then have to quarantine for 2 weeks is going to be a pain. Much rather a test for people entering the UK.”

Despite the good news for travel to Ireland, however, the Irish Government says that it is not encouraging Irish nationals to return home for the festive season.

Speaking in the Dáil Tánaiste Leo Varadkar warned: “I know it’s a tough message… but we’re not in the position at this point to advise people that it is safe to come home for Christmas.”

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