Ireland is planning to introduce airport testing to support the recovery of the aviation sector amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

This comes after Ireland-based airlines Ryanair and Aer Lingus criticised the government for imposing a 14-day quarantine for passengers arriving in the country, a step which is said to dampen travel demand and impede its recovery.

Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly told Reuters that plans are currently being worked out to introduce airport testing as an alternative to quarantine for some incoming travellers.

The schemes under consideration include waiving off quarantine requirements for passengers from some destinations if they produce negative Covid-19 tests taken three days before travelling.

Other passengers may be required to undergo a second, rapid test before departing.

However, the minister did not specify when the initiative will be ready for implementation.

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As of 12 October, Ireland has reported more than 42,520 Covid-19 cases. The death toll has crossed 1,800.

Globally, the virus has infected more than 37 million people and killed around 1.07 million.

Recently, the Airports Council International (ACI) World and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for universal testing of passengers as an alternative to restrictive quarantine measures.

The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected the aviation industry. Globally, passenger traffic fell by 58.4% in the first half of this year compared to the figures for the same period in 2019.

An ACI World report found that the world’s busiest airports also recorded sharp declines in numbers following the pandemic.