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Rules for inbound passengers to change from tomorrow as testing requirement is scrapped

People without proof of vaccination will still be required to have a negative test.
Jan 5th 2022, 3:04 PM 47,970 46

Updated Jan 5th 2022, 7:56 PM

THE REQUIREMENT TO have a negative Covid-19 test to arrive into Ireland from abroad is to be scrapped for vaccinated passengers. 

Travel rules are set to return to the system that was in place before 5 December when an EU Digital Covid Certificate was sufficient to enter the country. The updated rules are set to be in place from tomorrow. 

The Digital Covid Cert provides a proof of vaccination, but those without proof of vaccination will still be required to provide a negative PCR test taken in the previous 72 hours. 

The stricter testing rules were implemented a month ago amid concerns about the spread of Omicron variant of Covid-19. When the new regime came into force it was to be reviewed every fortnight

Speaking today, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the Omicron variant now accounts for about 96% of Covid-19 cases in Ireland. 

Digital Covid Certs

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has also said that from later this week Digital Covid Certs will reflect when an individual has had a booster dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. 

This will be automatic for people who already have a Digital Covid Cert. 

Last month, the European Commission approved new rules which laid out that the EU Digital Covid Cert for the purposes of travel would only be valid for a period of nine months after completion of a person’s primary vaccination series, after which a booster would be required. 

These new EU travel rules giving effect to the nine-month timeline are set to come into effect from 1 February. 

While booster doses will be reflected in Digital Covid Certs from this week, it will be a separate decision for government to require boosters to access other services aside from travel. 

Asked today whether a booster dose will soon be required to enter pubs, restaurants and other indoor venues in Ireland, Martin said this will happen but not in the short-term

“In the fullness of time yes, but not shorter than that. I think the HSE are now working on including the booster within the vaccination record and cert. Government decisions will have to be taken in terms of the policy implication of that but it’s very clear to us that the benefits of the booster are very significant,” he said. 

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Rónán Duffy

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