International travel to resume in July with ‘brake’ option if variants emerge outside EU

Hotel quarantine requirement for arrivals from Belgium, France, Luxembourg and US lifted

Announcing the widespread reopening of the economy and society, Mr Martin said that “after the trauma of the last 15 months, we are finally taking definite steps towards enjoying normal times." Video: RTE

 

International travel will resume from July 19th at which point the Government’s advice will change from asking people to avoid non-essential travel to advising them to travel safely and in line with public health guidelines.

A new concept of an “emergency brake” will be applied for countries outside the European Union where there are potentially dangerous variants of concern in circulation. While the rules appear complicated at first glance, they are split between EU travel and non-EU travel.

For those travelling within the EU, the rules will depend on whether they have a new Digital Covid Cert or not.

And for inbound travellers coming from outside the EU the rules will depend on whether such an emergency brake has been applied to the relevant country or not.

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has also lifted the requirement for mandatory hotel quarantine for those arriving from Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and the United States of America, with effect from Friday.

Travel originating within the EU

A Digital Covid Cert will be given to a person if they have recovered from Covid-19, been vaccinated or received a negative test result.

For passengers with a digital cert who are coming into Ireland from the EU, they will not have to get tested or quarantine upon arrival and can travel freely.

The caveat to this is the following: if a person has a digital cert but they were given it on the basis of a negative antigen test rather than PCR test, they will have to get that PCR test not more than 72 hours before arrival into Ireland.

For passengers who do not have a digital cert, they will also have to present proof of a negative PCR test taken not more than 72 hours before arrival but will not have to quarantine.

Travel from countries outside the EU like the US

Then there are separate rules for those who travel from outside the EU from so-called third countries.

There are two scenarios here.

The first is for countries where no “emergency brake” is applied. An emergency brake allows Ireland “to adopt urgent and time-limited measures to react to the emergence of a variant” and effectively put a country on a red list.

For those who are vaccinated and coming from a country without such an emergency brake, they do not need a test or to quarantine.

For those who are not vaccinated and are coming from a country without an emergency brake, they will need to show evidence of a PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival and they will have to self-quarantine, which could come to an end if they get a negative PCR test taken no earlier than five days after arrival.

Travelling from outside the EU from countries with an “emergency brake”

Then there is the question of what happens for those travelling from countries outside the EU where an emergency brake has been applied.

Even if the passenger has been vaccinated, they will have to show evidence of a PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival and will have to self-quarantine, which could end if they get a negative PCR test no earlier than five days after arrival.

The rules are more strict again for those who are unvaccinated and are arriving from a country with an emergency brake attached.

In this instance they will need to go into mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days, which could end after day 10 if they get a negative test.

The rules effectively mean that any person who is vaccinated and travelling from either the EU or a third country will not need to quarantine or get tested as long their country is not the subject of an emergency brake.

It is bit more complicated for those who do not have a Covid cert or are not vaccinated and this is especially so for unvaccinated people coming from countries where the emergency brake applies.

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