The Cabinet in Ireland has agreed to adopt the EU Covid Certificate system from July 19, allowing non-essential travel between Ireland and the rest of the EU to return. Holiday travel to the UK and US will also return from mid-July.
Ireland has some of the strictest travel restrictions in the EU. Citizens are advised against non-essential travel; fines are imposed for people going on holiday and there is a mandatory two-week hotel quarantine for arrivals from a long list of countries including Canada and the United Arab Emirates.
Over the weekend, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly removed any remaining European countries off the mandatory hotel quarantine list as well as the United States.
Ireland’s involvement in the so-called EU “green certificate” will allow free movement throughout the bloc for people who have been vaccinated, had a negative test or are immune because of previous infection and recovery from Covid-19.
On Friday, Minister of Transport Eamon Ryan said there would be no difference in dates for when travel will resume for Europe and for UK and United States. While the EU vaccine certificate will not apply to passengers from those countries, Ryan said a broadly similar approach would be taken.
However, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said that Ireland will not follow Northern Ireland in allowing completely restriction free travel for arrivals from the UK due to concerns over the rapid spread of the Indian coronavirus variant.
With free movement between Ireland and Northern Ireland permitted, Varadkar concedes that it would be perfectly possible for someone to travel restriction free from mainland UK to Ireland via Belfast and admits this has been a “difficulty” throughout the pandemic.
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