Ireland’s travel green list reduces to four countries

State curently has one of the strictest travel regimes in Europe

There are just four countries on the new travel green list issued this week and none of them are popular destinations for Irish travellers.

Only Cyprus, Finland, Latvia and Liechtenstein are deemed to have Covid-19 figures low enough that Irish visitors will not have to self-isolate for 14 days on their return.

Just one flight flew to any of those countries from Dublin Airport at the weekend. That was the Paphos flight from Ryanair to Cyprus, according to travel journalist Eoghan Corry.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary dismissed the list and wondered if the Government expected people to “cycle to Liechtenstein” given that the country has no airport.


However, even Irish visitors to those countries face considerable restrictions and it will not be possible to visit Cyprus without having had a Covid-19 test 72 hours prior to departure and to demonstrate that it was not a positive one. Irish people or Latvians living in Ireland must self-isolate for 10 days on arrival into Latvia.

The threshold for being on the green list is for a country within the EU/European Economic Area (EEA) area is to have a rate of less than 25 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 of the population over the previous 14 days.

The Government has said it will revise the green list on a weekly basis, according to how countries are faring in relation to the virus.

Currently Liechtenstein has a coronavirus rate per 100,000 of the population of 20.8 , Finland 19.3, Cyprus 18.4 and Latvia 9.9.

With the virus soaring across the continent the number of countries on the green list has decreased with Germany, Iceland, Lithuania and Poland no longer on it.

However, both Germany (29.8) and Poland (32.5) are just outside the threshold for inclusion.

Currently, Ireland has one of the strictest travel regimes in Europe.

The EU is looking at standardising approaches to travel within the continent with a new traffic light system which is expected to be agreed at the EU Council of Ministers meeting on October 15th.

Countries with a 14 day coronavirus average of less than 25 cases per 100,000 and with a positivity rate of less than 3 per cent will be in the green zone and visitors will not have to self-isolate when or after visiting those countries.

Countries in the orange zone will be those with a 14-day rate under 50 per 100,000 and infection rate of over 3 per cent.

People travelling from countries designated as red with cases of more than 50 per 100,000 will still have to quarantine for 14 days or take a coronavirus test to prove they are negative.

While much of the focus continues to be on travel within the EU, the EEA and the UK, the new rules also envision a gradual lifting of restrictions for other countries, with Australia, Canada, Japan New Zealand, South Korea and Thailand among those that could see restrictions eased early, although much of Africa and Asia are also faring considerably better than Europe – and although a lot can happen in three weeks.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times