DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland will ease quarantine restrictions on people travelling from abroad on July 20, with people arriving from a "green list" of countries with low COVID-19 rates to be exempt from isolating themselves for 14 days, transport minister Eamon Ryan said.
The government had said in June that the restrictions would be eased from July 9, but Ryan said this had been delayed due to concern about travel-related infections.
"A so-called green list... will be published on July 20, or prior to that," Ryan said in an interview with Newstalk radio station on Sunday. "The green list will be operating after that" date, he said.
Neighbouring Britain on Friday ended coronavirus quarantines for people arriving in England from more than 50 countries.
Ryan said Ireland would drop the quarantine for countries whose infection rates "are similar if not better than our own."
Ireland now has one of the lowest infection rates in Europe, with just three infections per 100,000 people during the past two weeks, so the list of exempted countries is likely to be much shorter than England's, government ministers have indicated.
Ryan said that the government was considering "a certain element of testing" for COVID-19 at airports, but that every visitor would not be tested.
Ireland did not want an "avalanche" of Irish people traveling abroad and said the government would continue to encourage people to take holidays at home, he said.
To date Ireland has recorded 25,498 cases of COVID-19, with 1,740 deaths.
(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Frances Kerry)