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People who have had Covid-19 will be able to contact a call centre to get a recovery certificate

There was some confusion between ministers earlier today over what role GPs would play.

Image: Sam boal

Updated Jul 13th 2021, 4:40 PM

PEOPLE WHO HAVE had Covid-19 in the last six months who wish to travel will be able to contact a call centre which will then issue a recovery certificate. 

Minister of State Ossian Smyth said those recovered from Covid-19 should not contact their GPs in order to get a certificate.

The Taoiseach confirmed in the Dáil this afternoon that recovery certs will be available through the call centre.

A government spokesperson confirmed this evening that a “small number of people” may have to get in touch with their GP, but said the “first port of call” to get the cert is through the call centre.

There was confusion earlier after Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that those who have recovered from Covid-19 can get in touch with their GP or testing centre for a recovery certificate. 

However, it has since been clarified that Martin was referring to the system that will operate indoor dining only.

It is understood the minister was referring to a memo that was approved by Cabinet as regards indoor dining, which sets out that certs “or other confirmation from a relevant medical practitioner could be used for booking and entry” for indoor dining.

This will allow people who do not have a digital cert, but are still vaccinated or recovered from the virus, to avail of indoor dining. 

A government spokesperson confirmed that “the memo basically outlines this plan but that’s being worked on by the working group that is looking at this to see how all this will actually function”.

They said “a note or a letter” from the doctor could be used at the door of the restaurant or pub, but “the easiest way by far for most people would be to contact to help line”. 

Talks

The Restaurants Association of Ireland has said further talks with Government officials including representatives of HSE, HSA, gardaí and Failte Ireland took place this afternoon.

In a statement, it said: “We are now working at ferocious speed engaging with Government in order to deliver operational guidelines for all hospitality businesses across the State.

“The focus is now on developing user friendly guidelines for both businesses, employees and consumers ahead of reopening indoor hospitality.

“More engagement bilaterally with trade representatives on a daily basis. Businesses want to reopen and employees want to return to work safely, securely and viably.”

Speaking this afternoon, Transport Minister and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan was asked about the confusion caused by the comments of his party colleague Martin this morning.

Ryan said that a number of days will be needed to work through the final details, including the role of GPs and others. He said the working group is working on the issues.

The legislation to allow for indoor dining, he said, defines “proof of immunity” as a Digital Covid Certificate (DCC), or “a form of proof of recovery from Covid-19 as may be prescribed in regulations”.

A government spokesperson told reporters today that two separate things are being “conflated” which might be causing confusion.

He said the EU Digital Covid Cert was primarily set up for travel, as was the call centre. “That’s what the whole system was set up for,” he said.

Due to the position the government finds itself in when it comes to indoor dining, the cert is now going to be used as a means to give people access to pubs and restaurants.

Certs 

Fully vaccinated people began receiving their Digital Covid Certificates this week.

People who were vaccinated via the HSE portal are receiving their certs via email.

Those who were vaccinated by their GP or in a pharmacy are receiving it in the post.

The EU Digital Green Certificate — essentially a QR code which will be available on smartphones or on paper — shows whether the bearer is vaccinated with one of the EU’s approved jabs (from BioNTech/Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson), or whether they have recovered from an infection or recently tested negative.

Irish citizens will still be allowed to travel for non-essential reasons from next week even if they don’t have the certificate.

Minister Smyth said the certificate is being rolled out to speed up the process in the airport, but those without a certificate will still be able to travel if they have proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test.

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“If for any reason you don’t have a certificate, you can still travel on your existing documentation,” he said.

“If you can show evidence that you’ve been vaccinated, or that you’ve been tested, you can still travel.

“So it’s not a prerequisite for travel, you don’t have to have a Digital Covid Cert to travel, but it does make it faster,” he said.

Approximately 160,000 paper vaccine certs were sent via post yesterday, with more to be sent out in batches throughout the week. Around one million certs will be issued via email between yesterday and tomorrow. A total of 1.8 million certs are expected to be delivered by next Monday.

With reporting by Céimin Burke, Christina Finn and Rónán Duffy

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