A ‘GREEN LIST’ for countries to which it is safe to travel will be published on Monday, Taoiseach Michéal Martin confirmed this evening.
The Government and the National Public Health Emergency Team said, however, that its advice against all non-essential travel remains.
Speaking this evening following a Cabinet meeting, Martin confirmed that the long-mooted Green List will be published next week and will be kept under review every two weeks.
The Taoiseach said there will be an increased presence of staff at ports and airports to ensure incoming passengers are made aware of their obligations, including restriction of movement for 14 days.
It comes after days of concern regarding international travel into Ireland and quarantine measures for visitors and people returning – and a rise in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.
The Taoiseach said he understood that anxiety some people had about people travelling into the country from hot spots.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly also said the total number of the Covid cases among those travelling from the United States, in the last six weeks, is four. These people tested positive upon arrival in Ireland.
His comments come after Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney addressed recent concerns about US flights landing in Ireland.
“We have between 200-250 people a day arriving from the US,” said Coveney. “That’s in the context of about 4,500 people a day arriving into Ireland. The majority of those people are Irish people coming home.
“One of the flights from Dallas which has been the subject of some attention from the media and social media – there were only 16 people on that flight is my understanding,” he said yesterday.
Donnelly said the success of stemming the spread of Covid-19 so far is down to collective effort, and that Ireland has one of the lowest prevalence of coronavirus in Europe.
Martin said the numbers in Ireland are still very low compared to other countries, but said “they take very seriously the advice from NPHET”.
The Taoiseach said believes “it is the right thing to do to press the pause button”.
Earlier today, health officials confirmed two further deaths due to Covid-19 in Ireland and 14 new cases.
This evening, the Government confirmed that the reopening of pubs and nightclubs is set to be pushed back until 10 August following a meeting of Cabinet ministers today.
Cabinet ministers agreed to postpone the reopening of pubs under Phase 4 from 20 July to 10 August.
The move comes after serious concerns were raised at a meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team on the re-opening of pubs, given the rising number of cases of Covid-19 in the country.
The Taoiseach also said that face coverings are to be made mandatory in shops, following a meeting of cabinet this evening.
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Face coverings will now be mandatory in shops for both shoppers and staff, unless a screen is in place. Regulations to make this measure mandatory are yet to be drafted.
At a briefing this evening, Martin said: “Pubs, hotel bars, nightclubs and casinos will remain closed until 10 August. Pubs and bars which are already operating and serving food can remain open once they are fully compliant with the public health guidance.”
Some of the most recent cases have originated from clusters in congregated settings, and it is feared that Ireland is not yet ready to move to the next stage of re-opening the economy.
With reporting from Christina Finn
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