A red-list of countries, including the US, from which non- essential travel will be prohibited will be published by the Irish government this week, as it moves to align itself with other EU states in its fight against the coronavirus. It is estimated that up to 250 US citizens arrive in Ireland every day despite the coronavirus.

Ireland's Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, and acting Chief Medical Officers Dr. Ronan Glynn, along with senior officials at Ireland's Department of Health have had discussions on several restrictions. These were then discussed by Cabinet and the preliminary proposals were given an informal go-ahead.

The Irish Times reported on, Monday, Aug 10, that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has supported these restrictions. 

Irish citizens and residents traveling home to Ireland, along with European citizens and essential workers traveling will be exempt from bans. These restrictions will not necessarily see the number of flights to and from those countries listed on the red list decrease. Freight business on transatlantic routes will also continue.

Read more: Coronavirus live updates from Ireland

More than 2 million tourists from the United States and Canada visit Ireland every year. They contribute a massive $2 billion to Ireland's tourism industry, which supports 325,000 jobs. Despite a sharp fall in those numbers during the pandemic, the Irish government says as many as 250 Americans are still arriving in Ireland every day.

A screenshot from the Coronavirus App, on Aug 10, 2020, showing the COVID hotspots.

A screenshot from the Coronavirus App, on Aug 10, 2020, showing the COVID hotspots.

So far, the number of cases of COVID-19 in Ireland linked to international travel is small. However, Minister Donnelly believes more needs to be done to contain the virus in Ireland and one step to this restricting travel. 

A spokesperson for Minister Donnelly has said these new travel ban measures will bring Ireland into line with other European countries. 

The Ministry spokesperson stressed that there "are no plans to make any changes to the current operation of the green list, which is already reviewed every two weeks”.

NBC News reports that in the United States the number of COVID-19 cases has now surpassed five million. Several states have seen an uptick in the past 14 days. 

They state "In Florida, for example, where flights are still departing for Ireland, the coronavirus-related death rate is 6 per 100,000 cases — 30 times higher than the current rate in Ireland over the past two weeks, which is 0.2."

Read more: World’s most remote Irish bar struggling in COVID pandemic

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