Latest Travel Updates: ALL passengers arriving into Ireland are required to produce a negative PCR test taken with 72 hours of arrival. Arrivals from Brazil and South Africa require mandatory quarantine.
I will be updating this post regularly with travel updates due to coronavirus, so bookmark it and make it your go-to post for the latest travel information. If you have queries in relation to airline refunds and vouchers or the Eu traffic light system, these posts might also be of interest:
ALL passengers arriving into Ireland are required to produce a negative PCR test taken with 72 hours of arrival.
All passengers arriving into Ireland (except those from Northern Ireland) are required to produce a negative / not detected result from a PCR test carried out no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland.
Passengers who fail to present evidence of this are subject to a prosecution, punishable by a fine not exceeding €2500, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or both.
International Transport Workers, including aviation workers, maritime and road haulage sectors, are exempt from this requirement, if travelling in the course of performing their duties. Transit passengers who do not leave the airport, and children under 6 are also exempt from the testing requirement, although they are advised to restrict their movements for 14 days.
All passengers who arrive from Great Britain, South Africa or any country in South America are advised to self isolate (stay in your room) for a period of 14 days following their arrival into Ireland.
All such travellers, whether they have symptoms or not, are asked to phone any GP or GP out-of-hours service to arrange for a COVID-19 test, which should be done as soon as possible after 5 days post-arrival. This test will be free of charge if arranged through GPs.
On January 26th, the government announced that anyone arriving without a negative PCR test will be quarantined in a hotel for 14 days. Arrivals from Brazil and South Africa are also required to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel. The date when mandatory quarantine will come into effect has not yet been announced. It is important that you check up to date entry requirements before you travel on gov.ie.
Travel Updates: Ireland adopts new EU traffic light system:
Ireland has adopted the EU ‘traffic light’ system for travel, which 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 agreed criteria, including the 14-day cumulative incidence rate, testing rate and testing positivity rates.
The categorisation of ‘regions’ instead of ‘countries’ is significant, as popular hot spots such as the Canary Islands has seen significantly lower incidence rates than the rest of Spain. Arrivals from other countries outside Europe including USA and Canada will be treated in the same way as Red countries, and it is possible to reduce quarantine times by obtaining a post departure tests five days after arrival, which must be arranged and paid for privately.
Read: My step by step guide to the EU traffic light system for travel
Airport testing now in place in Irish airports from €99
COVID-19 testing facilities have opened in Dublin Cork and Shannon airports as well as various locations around the country. Prices start at €99 for PCR tests in Dublin Airport, and €129 in Cork and Shannon. The testing facilities are fully open to the public, whether they require a test for travel, or for another reason.
Many countries including Spain now require proof of a negative PCR test for tourists arriving from high risk countries, while other countries such as Ireland, Turkey and Netherlands require a negative PCR test for tourists from ALL countries. This negative PCR test taken with 72 hours of arrival, must be shown on entry.
The Canary Islands require a negative PCR or antigen test to be produced from ALL countries, including Ireland, while Germany now requires a negative PCR test to be shown that was taken within 48 hours of arrival. It is vital that you check with the Department of Foreign Affairs and / or your airline before travelling for the entry requirements.
It is imperative that you check the entry requirements with the country you are due to travel with before you fly. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs website:
“Inclusion on the list does not imply the absence of any restrictions on arrivals in those locations. Citizens should be aware that countries continue to announce new restrictions on arrivals from abroad, including the requirement to quarantine on entry. This can include restrictions on arrivals from Ireland. The situation will continue to evolve quickly. Citizens who are considering travel to particular locations are advised to monitor news and information from the public authorities in their destination. The list and our Travel Advice is under regular review, based on ECDC data and advice from experts, and will be updated on a regular basis.”
This website is a handy source to have, it shows you the number of Covid-19 cases in each European country, and may be useful if you wish plan overseas to a country with a lower infection rate than our own.
Ireland currently advises against non-essential travel overseas, other than to countries that are part of the EU ‘traffic lights’ approach, where the advice is to exercise a high degree of caution.
What if you don’t want to travel?
If you do you wish to travel, but your flight is operating, you are not entitled to a refund, regardless of your health situation. You should be able to change your travel dates, but if you cancel because you do not want to fly, that is seen as your own personal decision and no refund will be due.
Many airlines are waiving change fees but there may be a difference in airfare if you wish to change your date. However it it important to check the booking conditions at the time of booking with your airline.
If the government advice is still in place against non-essential travel to the destination that you are due to travel to, then you may be able to claim on your travel insurance. You will need to have had a policy taken out with travel disruption cover or government advice, before the advice came into effect.
Refunds and Vouchers:
Many airlines are offering vouchers instead of refunds and there has been a lot of confusion across the travel industry. The Irish government has recently backed a new refund credit note that can be used by travel agents and tour operators to give to customers instead of a refund – note this is not applicable to airlines.
These credit notes will be guaranteed by the state in the event that the travel agent or tour operator ceases trading. It will be issued with a future redeemable date, and on that date it can be exchanged for its cash, or can be used to book another holiday. According to Shane Ross, ‘the refund credit note aims to strike a balance between preventing sector-wide bankruptcy (with associated immediate job losses) and consumer rights.’
Cruise lines & Tour Operators latest travel updates:
- MSC has cancelled all sailings for UK & Ireland residents until 31st October. They will have a reduced number of ships in both the East and West Mediterranean from 15th August for Schengen residents only, (not UK or Ireland passengers). Guests booked on a summer cruise can, up until 31st October, take advantage of the MSC Cruises’ Flexible Cruise Programme which allows guests to reschedule their cruise to a future departure date through to 31 December 2021. Guests affected by cancellations will receive a Future Cruise Credit of the value of 125%. If you are not in a position to take a Future Cruise credit, MSC Cruises will refund 100% of the balance paid on Cruise only and Fly Cruises.
- Princess Cruises cancel all operations until the 15th December. Passengers can request a full refund or receive 125% cruise credit.
- Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara and Silversea have cancelled most sailings until 31st October. Passengers can request a full refund, a 125% cruise credit or can change existing cruise to 2021 at the same cost – see more here.
- Norwegian Cruise Line have cancelled all sailings until 31st October. Passengers can request a full refund or receive 125% or 150% cruise credit, depending on departure date. Cruise credit is valid until December 2022.
US bans travel from Europe including UK & Ireland.
President Donald Trump has amended the US travel ban to include Ireland and UK effective midnight 16th March.The ban applies to anyone who has been in Europe within 14 days prior to their arrival in the US. This does not apply to US citizens, however they will have to undergo health screenings on arrival.
Note: This post is being updated constantly but travel advice and updates are changing on a daily basis. It is important to check with the company / airline you are booking with before taking any steps to cancel or travel abroad.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.
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