The countries were determined by their COVID-19 infection rates, as compared with Ireland. 

By Cailey Rizzo
July 22, 2020
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Certain travelers heading to Ireland won't have to abide by the country's 14-day quarantine, according to a recent announcement from the government. 

On Wednesday, the Irish government released a “green list” of countries whose residents can forego the two week quarantine period, mandatory for most travelers. The countries on the list — which include Malta, Finland, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Slovakia, Greece, Greenland, Gibraltar, Monaco, and San Marino —  were determined by their COVID-19 infection rates, as compared with Ireland. 

Notably, it does not contain several major European countries, including Ireland’s neighboring Britain. Cross-border travel between Ireland and Northern Ireland (which is part of the United Kingdom) is unrestricted.

Reuters noted that Ireland has one of the lowest COVID-19 rates in Europe, with only about five out of every 100,000 people infected in the past 14 days.

While the list will primarily be used by border patrol, it also works in reverse. The list will also inform Irish travelers which countries have been similarly or less impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will continually be assessed and potentially updated every two weeks.

“We’re looking at countries that may effectively become hot spots for COVID-19 in the months ahead, or indeed regions within countries, and looking at ways in which we can deal with that risk,” Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told RTE, the national broadcaster, on Wednesday. As the potential number of “green list” countries grows, Ireland could explore additional safety options, like a mandatory pre-departure COVID-19 test for international travelers, enhanced follow-up procedures after arrival and a call center.  

People enjoy outdoor life at a public park in Dublin, Ireland as more businesses and public amenities in Ireland reopen.
Xinhua News Agency/Getty

Ireland is in Phase 3 of its reopening plans, which allows residents to travel anywhere in Ireland. But there is some conflicting advice about international travel. While the “green list” may encourage travel to the selected countries, official advice from the government still says “all non-essential overseas travel should be avoided.” 

Most of Europe reopened borders to other European countries in June, although each country has implemented its own approach to restarting international travel. 

Ireland has recorded 25,802 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,753 deaths, according to government reports. Bars, restaurants, and hotels have been allowed to reopen, with a maximum of 50 people allowed inside one room at a time, according to the Department of Health. Face coverings and social distancing measures are still required when in public.