European Union countries have agreed to the traffic light system for travel as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.
It comes as Ireland will have no countries on our green list from Monday as none have a 14-day coronavirus incidence rate of below 25 per 100,000 people.
The countries that are currently on it — Cyprus, Finland, Latvia and Liechtenstein — will all be removed from the Green List from midnight on Sunday.
The traffic light system will involve different regions designated red, orange, or green labels depending on the number of cases per 100,000 people per two-week period.
The system will guide countries on virus testing or quarantines on EU tourists and other travellers going forward.
As the nation sees a rapid spike in cases, Ireland would be designated red as the current 14-day incident rate is 124.2, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Ireland’s test positivity rate is 4.5 per cent.
Judging by current data and as COVID019 cases rise across Europe, only a small selection of areas would qualify as green — most of eastern Germany, parts of the Nordic and Baltic countries, Cyprus, certain regions of Bulgaria and Greece, and one zone in Italy.
The aim of the new traffic light system is to put a halt to any confusion of travel guidelines across Europe as well as to bring back free movement of people, one of the key principles of the EU, within the 27-nation bloc when conditions allow.
The system would lead to more ‘predictability and transparency’ when travelling under COVID conditions in the EU, a spokesman for the German EU Council presidency said. They said it was an ‘important step forward’.
The guidelines, which were backed by a majority of EU governments and will be formally adopted next week, advise that restrictions should be non-discriminatory, proportionate and limited to what is necessary.
The idea is that all countries will grant access to visitors from green zones. The ECDC will provide weekly updates to assign the colours.
A green status will apply to regions with fewer than 25 infections per 100,000 people in 14 days and where the percentage of positive tests is below 4%.
Red means infection rates of 50 or more and positive tests of 4% or higher – or infection rates of over 150, even with a low positive test rate.
The worst affected countries include Czech Republic, with an infection rate of 398, Spain, 307, Netherlands, 304.3, Belgium, 277.7, and France, 260.2. Britain’s rate is 218.2.