Irish government urges people to holiday at home

Irish government urged people not to travel abroad but instead to "holiday at home", news wires reported. According to Foreign Minister Simon Coveney up to 50,000 people a week were leaving the country as a "green list" of countries has been published, but it is still safest to spend the holiday at home.

The government has released a list of 15 countries travellers can go to and not self-isolate on their return. The list, which is reviewed every fortnight, includes Malta, Finland, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Slovakia, Greece, Greenland, Gibraltar, Monaco and San Marino, but excludes the UK and the US.

The 15 countries have an infection rate of 5 per 100,000 population, or lower, over the last 14 days. Ireland is currently at 4.9. The advice to avoid non-essential travel applies to all other countries. At present, travellers arriving in Ireland from anywhere other than Northern Ireland are required to self-isolate and restrict their movements for 14 days.

Speaking on RTE News Morning Ireland on Wednesday, Coveney said the country was being cautious so as to prioritise protecting public health but accepted that there has been "confusion" over the issue. "The overall message from government is that the safest thing to do is to stay at home," he said. Coveney added he had an obligation to give guidance on "the risk attached to that travel".

The minister dismissed the idea of quarantining people who arrive for 14 days in a designated facility. He said that it was not "doable" and cited the example of Australia, where that system led to clusters in some quarantine locations such as hotels. "We have looked internationally at that model and it could cause more problems than it solves," he said. "What we have done has worked - international travel is down dramatically," he added.

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