Eamon Ryan: People vaccinated against Covid-19 may be able to skip hotel quarantine in future

All arrivals from ‘designated countries’ currently have to quarantine for two weeks.

THE TRANSPORT MINISTER has said that concerns about the transmission of Covid-19 by those who are vaccinated means that they will still have to undergo mandatory hotel quarantine if they arrive into the State from a so-called ‘designated country’.

However, Eamon Ryan has suggested that those who are vaccinated may be allowed to skip the two-week quarantine in future – if health officials allow it. 

Citizens in other countries who have already been vaccinated have questioned why they must complete the 14-day hotel stay if they have been inoculated against the virus.

An Israeli healthcare worker who has been vaccinated and arrived in Ireland with proof of a negative PCR test, but is currently quarantining in a Dublin hotel has launched a High Court case for an inquiry into what she claims is unlawful detention.

The Green Party leader explained that there are still concerns among health officials about the transmission of the virus by those who are vaccinated.

He said that there is currently no streamlined process to ‘certify’ those who have been vaccinated or previously diagnosed with Covid-19 in a way that could allow them to skip quarantine.

“We don’t have an international certification process,” he told Newstalk’s On the Record programme.

“We still have to wait for health advice on that. There is still some concern within the health authorities that even post-vaccination, people may be transmissible so they are cautious around that.

“But I would expect that will be a change that we will see in coming weeks and months.”

The minister suggested that the government’s mandatory hotel quarantine list will have to change as Europe adopts so-called ‘Covid passports’ allowing those who are vaccinated to travel.

He stated that the addition of countries to the list should “not be a permanent process”, saying that nations will have to be removed as their rates of vaccination and levels of Covid-19 improve.

“This is not fixed. For example, Israel’s coming out now because their vaccination programme seems to be delivering a significant reduction in transmission,” Ryan said.

Meanwhile, the minister also re-iterated a suggestion he made earlier this week that climate targets could spell an end to low-cost flights within the next decade.

Ryan told RTÉ radio on Friday that Irish people would likely need to change the way they travel in order to reduce carbon emissions and meet legally binding climate targets.

Today, he explained that at European level, considerations were already underway that cheap flights could have to be sacrificed in order to tackle climate change.

“I was asked a question on another radio show: in 2030, would there still be €10 euro cheap flights everywhere? And I have to answer honestly, I don’t expect there will,” he told Newstalk.

“This idea that a flight for €5.99 or €9.99 or whatever, that’s not something that’s going to be [feasible] in ten years’ time, as something that would be part of a low carbon future.

“It’s likely my mind that in that sort of timeframe – there’s nothing immediate on the table – but certainly I hear other ministers and the European Council discussions starting to consider, that’s one of the measures they’re looking at.”

The Green Party leader also said he expected aviation fuel would need to come under the EU’s emissions trading scheme, which charges certain sectors of the economy for the greenhouse gases they emit.

He suggested this would be another reason why air fares would increase in future.

“The idea that aviation is the only sector that has no tax on fuel, no restrictions on cross border trade and carbon in that way, that’s not likely to be the case in ten years’ time.”

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