Mandatory hotel quarantine will continue for unvaccinated people arriving into Ireland from high-risk countries throughout the summer.
Speaking at a Fine Gael press conference yesterday, May 17, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that while he’s keen to see unrestricted travel within the EU and “perhaps” the US, there “will be large parts of the world not vaccinated fully until the middle of next year some time . . . so I think we will have some form of mandatory hotel quarantine in place for those high-risk areas.”
He also emphasised that it will be August “at the earliest” before non-essential travel can take place again.
However, the government has given a firm commitment to sign up to the EU Covid-19 Certificate, which will be introduced across the EU on June 3, with each member state given six weeks to put the system into place.
By law, EU citizens will be able to request their certificate, which will be available as a digital barcode or as a printout. Barring any delays or glitches, this effectively means that unrestricted travel within the EU could be possible by mid-July.
Mr Varadkar also stressed that it was his “fervent ambition” to see the restoration of the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK “at some stage this summer or autumn.”
Currently, non-essential travel from mainland Britain is not allowed. If you do travel to Ireland, you must show a negative PCR test and quarantine for 14 days, unless you are travelling from Northern Ireland – then travel is unrestricted. Arrivals from Ireland into the UK don’t need a test or quarantine.
Last week ITTN revealed that only 2.29 per cent of all those who have undertaken mandatory hotel quarantine since it was introduced have tested positive for Covid-19.
Cautious Track Record
Mr Varadkar has a track record of being ultra-cautious when it comes to making predictions about when international travel might restart. in January, he suggested on Today With Claire Byrne that mandatory hotel quarantine might be required for every person flying into Ireland in 2021, which would effectively mean the cancellation of summer holidays and even travelling at Christmas.