Children of vaccinated parents arriving from Britain may not have to self-isolate

Holohan says ‘responsible public health advice’ is to avoid bringing children to indoor hospitality settings

Under plans being discussed over-12s from Britain  will still need to take a pre-flight negative PCR test, and will still be required to take a “day five” test after arriving – but will not have to self-isolate in between. Photograph: Alan Betson

Under plans being discussed over-12s from Britain will still need to take a pre-flight negative PCR test, and will still be required to take a “day five” test after arriving – but will not have to self-isolate in between. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

A reprieve from self-isolation is being considered for the children of vaccinated parents arriving from Britain, but parents are being told not to bring their children to dine indoors.

The Irish Times has learned that senior officials in the Department of Health are considering allowing unvaccinated children over 12 avoid the requirement to self-isolate on arrival.

Under plans being discussed over-12s will still need to take a pre-flight negative PCR test, and will still be required to take a “day five” test after arriving – but will not have to self-isolate in between.

It comes as chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan on Wednesday night told reporters that the “responsible public health advice” was to avoid bringing children to indoor hospitality settings.

“For now, to parents of young children, it is safer not to bring your children to indoor dining and other facilities even though these kinds of things might be possible,” he said.

Discussions are ongoing about the precise travel advice to be given when the country reopens for international travel, with sources saying the current plan is to stick to the outline agreed at Cabinet on July 6th.

The travel advice is being formed against a backdrop where high levels of Delta variant here have mitigated many of the reasons for tighter restrictions on arrivals from Britain.

Some in Government have argued that close alignment in travel from the UK would be best. However, sources said that must be balanced against a deteriorating Covid picture overall, and concerns from the chief medical officer.

Clear PCR test

However, Minister of State Ossian Smyth raised the possibility of loosening restrictions on arrivals from the UK. At the transport committee on Wednesday, Mr Smyth said that from next Monday unvaccinated arrivals from the UK would not have to isolate if they had a clear PCR test. He said that was subject to clarification or a Government decision. Sources said such a step could be considered, but was not agreed.

Representatives of the restaurant industry backed by retailers are seeking an exemption for the vaccine pass requirement for customers who wish to dine indoors at outlets that do not serve alcohol. However Government sources played down the prospect of an exemption for non-alcohol restaurants.

As many as 10,000 cafes, food courts and fast-food outlets would be open for unvaccinated customers under the proposals sent to the working group involving Government officials and hospitality groups ahead of a meeting on Thursday.