Ireland Looks To Introduce COVID-19 Testing For Travellers

Ireland is looking to introduce COVID-19 testing to offer an alternative to the current travel restrictions in place for international passengers. The news comes as the country removed all remaining countries from its travel ‘Green List’. COVID-19 testing would be tied to the EU’s proposed traffic light system.

Ireland, COVID-19 Testing, Ryanair
Ireland is considering COVID-19 testing on arrival. Photo: DAA

While many countries have been reopening their borders for travelers, Ireland hasn’t been as quick to take action. The country’s Greem List has always been relatively limited. This has attracted much criticism from airlines flying into Ireland, including Ryanair. The low-cost airline went as far as to mock then with a spoof job listing that attracted over 300 applications.

Airport testing of passengers

According to Reuters, COVID-19 testing at airports is being examined as a possible alternative to the current travel restrictions experienced by those arriving in Ireland. While the current conditions don’t equate to a full quarantine, they stop many aspects of everyday life.

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Reuters reports that the Irish health minister, Stephen Donnelly, commented on the EU’s proposed traffic light system, set to be discussed tomorrow. Ryanair is keen for Ireland to adopt the approach.

Lufthansa, COVID-19, Digitization
Other countries have already implemented testing on arrival. Photo: Centogene

The publication says that the default position would see travelers from red and amber countries being asked to restrict their movements. However, COVID-19 airport testing would see passengers from such countries able to sidestep restrictions seen elsewhere. Donnelly told the RTE radio station that testing “will happen because it is required as part of the protocol.”

Airlines will be happy

Airlines would be happy to see such measures implemented. Currently, travel is severely restricted by rules in place by governments. The reality is that a vast majority of passengers are either unwilling or unable to quarantine for 14-days, be that for a business meeting or a leisure trip abroad.

As part of Ryanair’s new podcast, Inside Ryanair, the airline’s CEO Eddie Wilson today commented,

“The key to this is yes, there should be testing as part of the suite of initiatives for those countries that are deemed red within the European Union. But for those who are orange and green, they should have freedom of movement.”

Ryanair, September, Passenger numbers
Ryanair will surely be pleased with COVID-19 testing. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

A large portion of Ryanair’s network returned to operation at the start of July. By August, the airline was flying seven million passengers a month as it resumed its role connecting Europe. More recently, in September, the airline’s passenger traffic has dipped down again.

Just half a month after its return, the low-cost carrier revealed that it would cut its Irish network in response to the government’s quarantine policy. Then, just over a month ago, the airline threatened to drop out of Ireland during the winter altogether due to its disdain at the country’s green list.

Should Ireland adopt the EU’s traffic light system? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!