A new EU approach to air travel - the so-called traffic light system - comes into operation in Ireland from midnight tonight.

Those arriving from green regions can enter the State without being expected to restrict their movements or undergo testing for Covid-19.

Passengers from orange regions who have a negative test result for Covid-19 taken up to three days before arrival are advised that they do not need to restrict their movements.

Those arriving from red regions must continue to restrict their movements for 14 days.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control will publish a three-stage colour system map every week to indicate the level of risk in each area of the EU.

Levels will be determined by a range of factors including the 14-day incidence per 100,000 population, the number of tests being carried out and the positivity rate.

At present, the vast majority of countries in the EU are in the red zone. Only Norway and Finland are in the orange zone and there are no European countries in the green zone.

Passengers travelling on certain essential functions do not have to restrict their movements. This includes essential workers, journeys for imperative business or family reasons (for example, attending a funeral) and essential medical reasons for travel.

Passengers arriving into Ireland from Denmark must restrict their movements for 14 days to help limit the spread of the newly discovered virus variant of SARS-CoV-2 in its mink population.

The Department of Transport said in a statement that Ireland is currently under Level 5 and the "advice remains that there should be no non-essential international travel".

Also today, an Irish healthcare company revealed it is to open two drive-through Covid-19 testing centres at Cork and Shannon airports from next Thursday.

RocDoc said it will carry out pre-departure tests for passengers, in accordance with the EU traffic light system for travel. Test results will be available within a few hours. Fees for the private service will start at €149 per test.

Meanwhile, a senior cross-Departmental technical working group is due to report back to the Government this Tuesday with a plan to establish approved Covid-19 tests for international arrivals.