Ireland demands COVID-19 test results for int'l arrivals as cases near 170,000
DUBLIN - Passengers arriving in Ireland from all countries will have to provide a negative COVID-19 test result starting from Saturday as part of the country's latest efforts to control the spread of the disease.
The test must be taken within 72 hours prior to arrival, according to a new rule announced by the Irish government earlier this week.
According to the rule, people coming from all other locations outside of Europe also need to self-isolate for 14 days, but this may be lifted on receipt of a negative COVID-19 test result taken no less than five days after arrival.
People arriving in Ireland from Britain and South Africa must continue to self-isolate themselves for 14 days even if they take a second test after arrival.
The Irish government said in a statement that the new rule does not apply to international transport workers and children aged under six.
The latest move came at a time when Ireland was hit by a third wave of the pandemic in the wake of the Christmas holiday.
The Irish Department of Health on Saturday reported another 3,231 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 169,780, only a few hundred cases shy of 170,000.
In addition, 60 more COVID-19-related deaths were also reported, bringing the death toll in the country to 2,595.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in Ireland and some other countries with the already-authorized COVID-19 vaccines.
Earlier this week, local media quoted Irish Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly as saying that the government plans to vaccinate 700,000 people by the end of March.
He said that the government expects to receive 3.7 million doses of vaccine by the end of June and another 3.8 million doses by the end of September, which will allow up to four million people in the country get two-dose vaccine by the end of the third quarter.
According to information released by WHO on Jan 12, 236 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 63 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States.