EU traffic light system for travel

Travel Tips

What Is The EU Traffic Light System for Travel – My Step By Step Guide

airport travelling with masks

Confused by the new EU traffic light system for travel? My handy guide has all the categories, restrictions and quarantine rules.

On Sunday 8th November, the Irish Government implemented the new EU traffic light system for travel, and following a few amendments, it appears we finally have a workable system in place – well almost!

map of EU traffic light system for travel
The EU traffic light system approach provides for regions across the EU to be categorised as green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of the risk levels associated with COVID-19. A combined indicator map will be published each week by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, (ECDC), based on the 14-day cumulative notification rate, testing rate and testing positivity rates.
 

 

 
The ECDC traffic light system will be updated every Thursday, and the changes applied will come into effect for travel into Ireland from the following Monday. The proposed measures for arrivals from orange, red and green regions, once implemented, will be reviewed fortnightly. It is important to note not all countries are adopting the same timelines  – see more below.

how does the new EU traffic light system for travel work

What’s new in the EU traffic-light system for travel?

The categorisation of ‘regions’ instead of ‘countries’ is a significant one for Ireland, as popular hot spots such as the Canary Islands has seen significantly lower incidence rates than the rest of Spain.
 

 

 

 

 

 
The other significant change is in relation to testing. When the EU traffic light system was introduced, Ireland did not have testing requirements – this has now changed. From 16th January 2020 ALL passengers arriving in Ireland will need to produce a negative/not detected PCR test on arrival. In some cases it is possible to reduce quarantine times by obtaining a further test in Ireland five days after arrival – see more on this below.
 

 

 

Additional requirements have been introduced to combat the spread of the virus.

Arrivals into Ireland from ALL countries will have to produce a negative/not detected PCR test that was taken within 72 hours of arrival.  

All passengers are required to self-isolate at home for 14 days. Arrivals from South Africa and Brazil are subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days, date when this will come into effect is yet to be announced. It is important that you check up to date entry requirements before you travel on gov.ie.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on

 

 

Countries adopt different approaches within the EU traffic light system

mums weekend away

Currently many countries including Ireland require visitors to provide proof of a negative PCR test to be shown on arrival. This must be taken within 72 hours of departure. It is therefore vital that you check the requirements for the country you are travelling to in advance of travel. While Ireland updates its list of countries on the traffic light system every Monday, (taken from the ECDC Map published the previous Thursday), many other countries adopt different methods.

For instance, Spain updates its list every 15 days, giving tourists a window of certainty to make travel bookings, so that the countries will not change classification in two weeks. The results come into effect seven days later. 


 

 

 

What does this mean for Irish people travelling to Spain and The Canary Islands?

If you are travelling to Spain, including the Canary Islands from a red or grey region, you will need to produce confirmation of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

As long as the Canary Islands remain a ‘red‘ region you will be required to restrict your movements for 14 days when you return to Ireland. You can take a PCR test five days after your return, and if this is negative, you will not have to restrict your movements for the remaining nine days – see more below.
 

 

 
If you are travelling to Spain, excluding the Canary Islands from an Amber / Orange region,  you are NOT required to provide a negative PCR test.

Requirements for entry to Spain from 11th January
However, The Canary Islands has a separate regulation in place. ALL visitors who are staying in tourist accommodation must produce a negative test taken in the 72 hours prior to arrival. This test can be an antigen or PCR test that detect SARS-COV-2 antigens with an accuracy of 97% and a sensitivity of over 80% as defined in their supporting documentation. Transcription Mediated Amplification (TMA) tests are also permitted.

For anyone looking to get a PCR test before you return home, the Canary Islands have published a list of clinics where these are possible here.

However, it is important to note that regulations are changing on a daily basis. Additional restrictions have been introduced in many countries due to the new faster transmitting strain that is prevalent in Europe. You should check with your airline / travel agent before flying.
 

 

 
There is also confusion over the governments current travel advice. The current public health advice is that there should be no non-essential international travel, however the Department of Foreign Affairs website states:

“Our current advice for travel to these countries (meaning those included in the ECDC map) is ‘exercise a high degree of caution’. Our general advice for any other overseas travel remains ‘avoid non-essential travel’ or in some cases, ‘do not travel’ ”
 

 

 
While the outlook for international travel still remains bleak in the short term, hopefully by adopting the new EU traffic-light system for travel, it should mean there will be more overseas travel in 2021, providing of course, that it is safe to do so.

travel in 2021 will be more accessible with EU traffic light system in place 

The new EU traffic light system for Ireland is as follows:

Regions are considered Green when:

The 14-day notification rate is lower than 25 cases per 100,000 of population and the test positivity rate is below 4%.

What restrictions apply?

Negative PCR test required for all visitors to Ireland. Persons arriving from EU green regions are not required to restrict their movements for 14 days.
 

 

 

Regions are considered Orange when:

The 14-day notification rate is lower than 50 cases per 100,000 of population and the test positivity rate is 4% or higher.

OR

The 14-day notification rate is between 25-150 cases per 100,000 and the test positivity rate is below 4%.

What restrictions apply?

Negative PCR test required for all visitors to Ireland. Persons arriving from EU amber regions are not required to restrict their movements for 14 days.

 

 

 

Regions are considered Red when:

The 14-day notification rate is 50 cases per 100,000 of population or higher and the test positivity rate is 4% or higher 

OR

The 14-day notification rate is higher than 150 cases per 100,000.

What restrictions apply?

Negative PCR test required for all visitors to Ireland. Travellers are required to restrict their movements for 14 days, except where travel is for essential purposes as outlined here.  It is possible to reduce quarantine times by taking a PCR test in Ireland, five days after arrival – see more below.

 

 

 

 

Regions are considered Grey when:

There is insufficient information provided, or if the testing rate is lower than 300 cases per 100,000 of population.

What restrictions apply?

Negative PCR test required for all visitors to Ireland. Travellers are required to restrict their movements for 14 days, except where travel is for essential purposes as outlined here. It is possible to reduce quarantine times by taking a PCR test in Ireland, five days after arrival – see more below.
 

 

 

If I take Covid-19 PCR test, can I eliminate or reduce quarantine times in Ireland?

travel updates due to coronavirus

The request to restrict movements for 14 days can be reduced for passengers arriving from a Red or Grey region, if they take a second PCR test in Ireland five days after arrival. If the test is negative/not detected, they will no longer have to restrict their movements – this reduces the quarantine time from 14 days to 5. If the test is positive, they will have to restrict their movements for 14 days.

 

A PCR test with certification is currently available from Randox at a cost of €99, and Tropical Medical Bureau from €120, as well as other suppliers throughout the country. 
 

 

 
Please note, there is currently a separate travel advisory for passengers arriving from UK and South Africa. All passengers, including those travelling for essential purposes are requested to self-isolate for 14 days. This can not be reduced by taking a further test after arrival in Ireland.
 

Read: Top 10 tips for travelling during Covid-19

Read: Make sure to fill out Passenger Locator Forms before you travel overseas 

How to get a refund if your flight is cancelled
 

 

 

Is there anything else I should know?

eu traffic light system for travel will see more Irish people travelling in 2021

Notwithstanding the above, travellers are required to adhere to the public health advice and not travel if they are symptomatic of Covid-19, a close contact of a confirmed case, or have been advised to restrict movements by doctors. Everyone arriving in Ireland excluding essential transport workers must complete a passenger locator form and are expected to following the Government’s current public health advice.

Read: Make sure to fill out Passenger Locator Forms before you travel overseas

Note: The above guide is researched from reputable websites, however, travel advice and updates are changing on a daily basis. It is important to check with the country and travel provider you are booking with before taking any steps to to travel abroad.

 

 

 

Sarah

Pin It on Pinterest