Unvaccinated people will need Covid cert to travel abroad – Tánaiste

Government has decided to diverge from Holohan’s travel advice, Varadkar says

June 17th, 2021: Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said that he wants to see airline travel resume in "as normal a way as possible", adding that NPHET will continue to advise against foreign travel without a Covid-19 vaccine. Video: RTÉ


Unvaccinated people will be able to travel abroad if they have a Digital Covid Certificate and get a PCR test before returning, the Tánaiste has said.

Leo Varadkar told RTÉ’s The Week in Politics programme the advice from the chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan is “very clear” that people who aren’t fully vaccinated should not travel.

“I totally understand why he is putting forward that advice… But because we are the Government we have to take wider considerations into account and that is why the Government advice – the law we are putting into place – is actually different to the CMO’s advice,” he said.

He said Dr Holohan’s advice is “totally right” from a scientific and medical perspective, but due to the unfairness to young people and other people who are not yet vaccinated, the Government has decided to diverge from it. He urged people to be aware of the rules imposed by the country they are travelling to, as well as Ireland’s travel restrictions.

On Thursday, the chief medical officer advised people not to travel unless they have received a Covid-19 vaccine.

“We would like to see travel resuming, because we are getting enough people vaccinated. We really focus the travel on people who are vaccinated. Do not travel unless you are vaccinated, I think will continue to be our message,” he said. The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) shares the ambition of the Department of Transport that airline travel will be able to resume “in as normal a way as possible”.

According to the reopening plan, Government advice is to avoid non-essential international travel. The plan stipulates that from July 19th Ireland will operate the EU Digital Covid Certificate for travel with the European Union, but this depends on the prevailing public health situation at the time.

Mr Varadkar said the more transmissible Delta variant could lead to travel restrictions being imposed if it spreads widely. For this reason, the return to international travel must be “cautious”, he said.

Belgian authorities will ban non-EU arrivals from Britain due to concerns about the prevalence of the Delta variant there. Britain is among 27 nations that will face the travel ban.