Ireland Eases Restrictions, Allowing Vaccinated Travelers to Arrive Without Getting Tested
Ireland is making it easier for vaccinated travelers to visit the Emerald Isle by eliminating the need to get a pre-departure COVID-19 test before departure.
Going forward, travelers who have been fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine or who have contracted COVID-19 in the last six months and recovered will not have to show a pre-departure test, according to the country's Department of Health. Travelers who are unvaccinated or don't have proof of recovery from the virus will have to show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their arrival.
Travelers to the country must also complete a passenger locator form. Children 11 and under are exempt from testing.
The new rules, which went into effect on Thursday, reverse earlier protocols put in place a month ago to stem the spread of the omicron variant, Reuters reported. The country is currently seeing a 50.8% case positivity rate over the last seven days with just over 23,800 new cases recorded on Wednesday, according to Ireland's COVID-19 Data Hub.
The omicron variant accounts for nearly all infections in Ireland, the wire service noted.
"There will be a challenging number of weeks in January," Prime Minister Micheál Martin said during a news conference, according to Reuters. "The next week or ten days will give us more evidence in terms of the impact of this variant on severity of illness and that will inform decisions on a broad range of issues."
Ireland is the latest country to ease restrictions it implemented in response to the emergence of the omicron variant. On Friday, the United Kingdom eliminated its pre-departure test requirement for vaccinated travelers and, starting Sunday, plans to allow tourists to take an easier — and cheaper — rapid test after arriving.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.