Germany, Poland added to updated travel green list but Italy, Greece removed

Number of countries reduced to seven from 10 amid rising infection rates

The Government’s new green list for “safe” international travel has added Germany and Poland but removed both Greece and Italy because of rising infection rates.

The number of green countries has been reduced to seven from 10 amid fresh Covid-19 outbreaks across Europe.

The Government has also changed the method for determining which countries are included on the list, adopting the levels agreed for the proposed European Union “traffic light” system for common travel.

Under that system, those countries with infection rates under 25 per 100,000 population are considered safest for travel.


Accordingly, from Monday September 21st, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland remain the only countries where travel to and from Ireland will be done under “normal precautions”, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

Those arriving into the State from those seven countries will not be obliged to undergo 14 days of movement restrictions.

Under the EU system, Ireland, with infection rates of 54 per 100,000 population, would be considered a red zone for other countries, where precautionary measures such as quarantine would have to be undertaken.

The countries removed from the green list are Italy, Greece, Hungary, Estonia, Greenland, Norway and Slovakia.

Travel to Britain is not advised but there are no precautions in place for travel to and from Northern Ireland. The Government continues to advise against non-essential travel for all countries not on the green list.

The green list will only be in operation for a limited time. The Government intends to begin implementing the EU “traffic light” system from October 15th. That system proposes that those travelling even from red zones should preferably be given Covid-19 tests upon arrival and departure, rather than quarantine.

The Government has indicated it will introduce that change while trying to ensure it does not have an impact on current testing and tracing operations.

Airlines renewed their criticism of the Government for failing to ease the restrictions, with Aer Lingus saying its approach “does not represent a step towards alignment with the European Commission’s free movement proposal”.

“The application of that proposal would have seen the following countries retained on the list: Greece, Italy, Norway, and Slovakia. It would also have seen the following countries added to the list: Bulgaria, Sweden, Slovenia, Denmark, United Kingdom, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, Luxembourg, Malta.

“Aer Lingus looks forward to the early and complete implementation of the European Commission’s free movement proposal,” the airline added.

Ryanair accused the Government of “chaotic mismanagement of travel during the Covid-19 crisis”.

“Instead of adopting the EU traffic light system they promised to do only last Tuesday, they have today departed from that policy by taking Italy and Greece from the green list when both countries have Covid rates 60%+ less than Ireland and are also classified under the new EU system as having no travel restrictions within the EU.”

Ryanair said the Government was also continuing to ignore the report of its own Aviation Task Force on how to manage the sector through the pandemic.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times