The Government has introduced a range of measures to mitigate the risk of importing variants of concern including a mandatory testing requirement for arriving passengers. Since the 16th January passengers arriving in Ireland from overseas (including those entering via Northern Ireland) are required to present evidence of a negative pre-departure RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel upon arrival.
The Department of Health is aware of residual positive tests in some recovered COVID patients and is examining the issue with public health officials. The issue is common to many countries with travel testing requirements and is also being discussed at EU level.
Under the current mandatory testing regime in Ireland, exemptions from the pre-departure test requirement are in place for international transport workers, passengers travelling with an urgent medical need and for travellers with genuine humanitarian emergencies unable to obtain a pre-departure RT-PCR test before travel.