Meanwhile as of tomorrow (Sunday, December 5) passengers arriving from overseas into Dublin and other air and sea ports across the south will be required to produce proof they do not have COVID via a PCR or antigen test.
The Irish Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, has now signed the regulations amending requirements around international travel to the Republic due to the emergence of the new Omicron variant.
From Sunday 05 December (after midnight tonight, Saturday), overseas passengers to Ireland will be required to show proof of a negative / not-detected COVID-19 test result.
In advance, passengers are encouraged to adhere to these new travel requirements to support Ireland’s response to the pandemic.
A passenger with proof of vaccination or recovery can show either a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of arrival or, a negative antigen test result taken within 48 hours of arrival.
Only Rapid Antigen Tests which are listed on the common EU rapid antigen test list will be accepted and it must be carried out by a health professional or skilled testing personnel. That EU list can be found here: ec.europa.eu/health/sites/default/files/preparedness_response/docs/covid-19_rat_common-list_en.pdfPassengers without proof of vaccination or recovery must show a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of arrival.
Proof of a negative / not-detected COVID-19 test result will be checked pre-departure and may be subject to checks on arrival.
Passengers also need to fill out the passenger locater form prior to travel into the south of Ireland (less than 72 hours prior to arrival): www.gov.ie/en/publication/ab900-covid-19-passenger-locator-form/Passengers to Ireland who arrive without a negative test result are required to home quarantine and take a PCR test within 36 hours of arrival. A subsequent negative / not detected text can enable the passenger to exit home quarantine. If no PCR test is taken the passenger must remain in home quarantine for 10 days after arrival.
The Irish government said these new measures “are intended to be temporary and will be kept under constant review”.
The previous exemptions from pre-departure testing requirements apply including for transport workers, children aged under 12 and persons travelling for urgent medical reasons.
Testing measures do not apply to passengers whose journey originated in Northern Ireland and who have not been overseas in the 14-days prior to arrival.
For more information on travel visit www.gov.ie/travelMeanwhile in an address to the nation on Friday night, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said a range of other restrictions were deemed necessary.
The Taoiseach announced that nightclubs will close from Tuesday, December 7 until January 9.
Strict social distancing will be required in all bars and restaurants, including hotels and they must all revert to the situation that was in place before October 22.
That means: table service only; 1 metre between tables; a maximum of six adults per table; there can be no multiple table bookings; masks must be worn when not at the table; closing time remains at midnight.
There will be a maximum of 50% capacity at entertainment, cultural, community and sporting events, which must all be fully seated. Face masks must be worn at all times unless eating or drinking.
The Covid Pass will be required for gyms and leisure centres and hotel bars and restaurants.
In addition, NPHET have advised that visits to private homes over the coming weeks should be kept to a maximum of three other households (that’s four households in total) at any one time.
Mr Martin acknowledged: “It is difficult because even though Ireland has done very well as a country and you have done everything that has been asked of you, we have received some very stark advice from our Chief Medical Officer and our Public Health Experts that requires the reintroduction of a number of restrictions.
“I understand and I share the disappointment and frustration that this will cause for many of you.... The challenge we face is that while we have stabilised the surge of cases in the country, the daily case numbers are still very high.”
He added: “This is not about going back to the days of lockdowns. It’s about adjusting the guidelines to meet the threat we face today and protecting the progress achieved to date.
“Across the country, very many people in the hospitality and entertainment industries will be bitterly disappointed by this news. Many of them will be fearing for their livelihoods. I want to reassure them that just as we have done since the beginning of the pandemic, the Government will stand by them and ensure that they have the financial supports necessary to weather this latest storm and to stay intact until we are out of it.”