DUBLIN, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Irish government on Tuesday announced a number of new COVID-19-related rules for international travelers, which will take effect on Friday.
According to the new rules, people traveling into Ireland still have to show evidence of a valid PCR test result unless they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recovered from the disease within the last six months or aged below 12.
A valid test result refers to the result of a test done within 72 hours prior to their arrival in Ireland.
Airlines have the obligation to check PCR test results and deny boarding to passengers who fail to provide acceptable documentation, said the government in a statement, adding that those who do not have a PCR test on arrival will be required to take a test within 36 hours of their arrival and present evidence to local police.
International travelers still need to complete an electronic Passenger Locator Form before their visit to Ireland, but they are no longer required to update their address of residence after arriving in the country, according to the statement.
The statement also said that the mandatory hotel quarantine system is no longer considered necessary and will be wound down and mandatory home quarantine requirements for international travelers will also be removed.
In late March, the Irish government introduced a system under which travelers coming from countries and regions considered posing a high-risk for the spread of COVID-19 will have to take a 14-day mandatory quarantine at a designated hotel with accommodation and food costs to be borne by travelers themselves. Those who violate the rules could face a heavy fine or a six-month imprisonment, or both.
The new rules are part of the measures announced by the Irish government on Tuesday to further ease the COVID-19 restrictions in the country.
Starting from Friday, most of the COVID-19 restrictions in Ireland will be lifted. They include no requirement for capacity limits on outdoor events, no limits on the number of people attending weddings and religious services, and a gradual return to the workplace.
Under the new measures, nightclubs will also be reopened for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic.
But social distancing and wearing of masks in healthcare and indoor retail settings as well as on public transport will remain in place. COVID-19 certificates are still required for entry into restaurants, bars, cafes and nightclubs.
The new measures were announced at a time when Ireland was still being plagued with high infection rates and hospitalisations.
The Irish Department of Health on Tuesday reported a total of 2,399 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest daily figure since January.
As of 8 a.m. on Tuesday, 473 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in the country, of which 74 are in intensive care units (ICU), said the department in a statement, adding that the five-day moving average in Ireland is 1,890.
The recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Ireland has put huge pressure on its healthcare system.
The Health Service Executive, a state agency responsible for Irish public health service, said in a Sunday night update that there were only 11 adult ICU beds left available in government-run hospitals along with one paediatric ICU bed.