Ireland will allow visitors with negative COVID-19 tests to exit quarantine in five days.

By Meena Thiruvengadam
December 03, 2020
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Ireland, the first European country to reenter a national shutdown as a second wave of coronavirus took hold of the continent, will now allow visitors who test negative for COVID-19 after their arrival to quarantine for as little as five days.

Currently, visitors from the U.S. and most of Europe are required to quarantine for 14 days. That means, no weddings, funerals, in-person holiday shopping, or face-to-face visits with others. Essential workers and travelers from Northern Ireland are exempt.

The latest updates from the Irish government allow travelers who test negative for COVID-19 at least five days after their arrival to leave quarantine early. Only results of PCR tests will be accepted, and tourists are still required to fill out a contact tracing form. Visitors may be fined or jailed for skipping this step. 

Credit: Xinhua News Agency/Getty

Visitors, however, shouldn’t expect to feel especially welcome. Irish officials continue to discourage recreational travel, and The Irish Times reports that the country’s tourism sector is preparing for a tough 2021. Ireland closed all nonessential businesses in late October, restricting bars and restaurants to takeout and delivery. Residents were mandated to stay within three miles of home unless commuting to essential jobs. 

Ireland has so far reported just over 73,000 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 2,100 deaths, according to the latest data from its Department of Health. Cases spiked in mid-October, prompting the country’s second lockdown. Several other European countries, including England, Spain, France, Italy, and Greece, have also implemented lockdowns or curfews to stem a rising tide of COVID-19 cases. 

England entered its second lockdown in early November. That lockdown expired on Wednesday. Researchers told CNN, they estimate England’s four-week lockdown brought down coronavirus cases by 30%.  

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets, and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.