All travellers into Republic will need negative Covid-19 tests from Saturday

Cabinet agrees to extend measure requiring passengers to have PCR tests to all countries

File photograph: Kate Geraghty

File photograph: Kate Geraghty


All travellers into the Republic will have to produce a negative PCR Covid-19 test from the previous 72 hours in new rules set to come into effect this Saturday.

The Cabinet agreed the new measures on Tuesday.

A Government statement said arrivals from Britain and South Africa would continue to require a negative/not detected PCR test and must continue to isolate for 14 days, even if they take a second test after arrival.

Travel from both of those countries has been restricted in an attempt to avoid importing two more transmissible variants of the Covid-19 first detected there. Both the UK variant and the South African variant have been found in the Republic.

Under the new plans, people who arrive in from “grey” or “red” countries (as defined by the EU traffic light system) will have to restrict their movements for five days and if they get a negative PCR test, this requirement can be lifted.

Those flying in from “green” and “orange” countries will not have to restrict their movements.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control gives EU countries a rating based on the test positivity rate for Covid-19 and the 14-day incidence rate for each nation.

Most of Europe is currently marked red with Finland and parts of Greece among the few orange countries.

The Government statement said: “Exemptions will be limited to those currently exempt from this requirement, which are international transport workers, including hauliers, pilots and aviation crew, masters and maritime crew, and members of An Garda Síochána in the course of their duties. Children under six will also be exempt.”