Irish citizens and their carers who travel for urgent medical treatment are exempt from quarantine on their return, under new rules from the Department of Health.
Ireland discourages citizens from travelling overseas but expects borders to open from July.
The country has categorised regions across the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) as green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of the risk levels associated with COVID-19. Each category has different rules.
All arrivals into Ireland, both residents and tourists need to bring proof of a negative PCR test, taken no longer than 72 hours before arrival.
Mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days is required from passengers entering or returning to Ireland, both foreigners, and residents from the 20 high risk red countries.
As the first step to opening borders any traveller who has been fully vaccinated and is coming from a ‘Red Zone’ will not need to complete a 14-day hotel quarantine and may self-isolate at home.
Updated Department of Health guidance states that if someone has travelled abroad for “unavoidable, imperative and time-sensitive medical reasons” they will not be required to undergo mandatory hotel quarantine on returning to Ireland.
This also applies to someone travelling with another person as a carer, and if a child or other dependent has travelled with them they will also be exempted.
It will also apply to the parents or siblings of a child who has travelled abroad for medical reasons. Those seeking the exemption must have certification from a doctor when travelling.
Others who are exempt from mandatory hotel quarantine include those who can prove they have been fully vaccinated and the parents of new-born babies, including those born through surrogacy. In such circumstances, negative PCR tests are required and the passengers must still quarantine at home.
Over a third of the eligible population has now received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Tourism Minister, Catherine Martin, has called for restrictions on international travel to be lifted as soon as possible after vaccination passports are introduced across the EU. Marin wants to open borders fully quickly to allow people to fly in and out of the country once the new digital green certificates are implemented for airline passengers.