EU member states have agreed to add the United States to their list of countries from which they will allow non-essential travel, EU diplomats said.

Ambassadors from the EU's 27 countries approved the addition of the US and five other countries at a meeting this morning, with the change to take effect in the coming days.

Albania, Lebanon, North Macedonia, Serbia and Taiwan will be added, while Chinese administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau will be included with a requirement for reciprocity removed.

EU countries are recommended gradually to lift travel restrictions for the current eight countries on the list -Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

Individual EU countries can still opt to demand a negative Covid-19 test or a period of quarantine.

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Because of the pandemic, the EU closed its external borders in March 2020 for non-essential travel, and for the past year has drawn up a regularly updated list of non-member states whose residents are allowed to travel to Europe.

Countries can be included if they have recorded fewer than 75 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants over the past 14 days.

In the United States this rate is 73.9, according to figures from the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC).

People arriving into Ireland from the US no longer have to enter mandatory hotel quarantine.

However, all passengers must complete a Covid-19 Passenger Locater Form and provide proof of a negative PCR test at least 72 hours before arrival.

People must quarantine for 14 days at the address given on the Passenger Locator Form, but can leave quarantine if they get a negative PCR test taken no less than five days after arrival.