The Republic of Ireland has released a “green list” of 15 countries that travellers can visit without having to self-isolate for 14 days on their return – but Great Britain is excluded.
The 15 countries are Malta, Finland, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Slovakia, Greece, Greenland, Gibraltar, Monaco and San Marino.
Popular holiday destinations such as the US, France, Spain and Portugal have also been left off the list, as only countries with the same or lower infection rate than Ireland were included.
The Irish government said in a statement: “Anyone arriving into Ireland from these countries will not have to restrict their movements.
“The list will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis, based on advice from officials including public health experts.”
Travel from Northern Ireland remains exempt from restrictions.
The government said it will continue with plans to strengthen the existing measures for monitoring arriving passengers, including the introduction of an Electronic Passenger Locator Form and a proposed testing regime for symptomatic passengers at airports and ports.
The statement concluded: “The pandemic is not over and the public health advice remains the same. The safest thing to do is not to travel.”
The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) has previously criticised the green list proposals.
Ireland’s National Public Health Emergency Team says that all non-essential foreign travel should be avoided, regardless of whether a country is on the green list or not.
The ITAA says a green list of countries is meaningless unless current travel restrictions are lifted.
It said: “The association is dissatisfied with the mixed messaging from the government, and believes that a clear decision must be made between cancelling all flights and offering compensation to affected customers, or lifting the non-essential travel ban for the countries on the green list.
“The ITAA has previously discussed implementing ‘air bridges’ on routes within countries in Europe with a similar rate of recovery to Ireland.”
The association warns there are currently 250,000 jobs at risk in Ireland’s tourism sector.