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Americans and most international travelers headed to Ireland have been required to quarantine in the country for 14 days after their arrival since the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic. But that rule has changed as of today.

Visitors to Ireland can now exit quarantine early if they pass a COVID-19 PCR test performed at least five days after their arrival in the country.

Visitors must wait for the negative test result to be returned before ending their period of restricted movements according to the new rules posted by the Irish government.

The new regulations point out that although there are a number of coronavirus tests on the market, the PCR test is the only one considered acceptable by Ireland’s public health authorities for the purposes of international travel.

The Irish government reminds visitors that the number of locations to get a PCR test in the country is limited, so it highly recommends scheduling your test in advance of your trip to the country. All of the tests are done by private companies and not the public health system.

In early November, Ireland changed the way international travel was handled in the country. Visitors from European Union member states -- as well as Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, and Liechtenstein -- were included in a traffic light system based on the risk levels associated with COVID-19 in their countries. Green lights, meaning free travel within the borders immediately, are reserved for those with low risks. The scale moves from yellow to orange to red for those with the highest risks.

Any country not on this list, including the United States, is considered a red light, and visitors from those countries faced the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

Despite the new rules and the ability of travelers to visit Ireland, the government is not encouraging such action. Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar emphasized to reporters that the government is asking people not to come to Ireland if their purpose is non-essential.

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