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21st Mar 2021

Restrictions on international travel likely to remain until the end of June

“I don’t see our advice changing in the short-term.”

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is set to recommend that restrictions on non-essential international travel remain in place until at least the end of June.

Speaking at a press briefing on last week, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Ronan Glynn said: “I don’t see our advice (in relation to international travel) changing in the short-term… up to the end of June.”

Glynn was responding to questions about travel in the European Union this summer, following the unveiling of plans for a “digital green certificate” to allow safe freedom of movement between EU countries by the summer.

According to plans announced by the European Commission, the certificate will be proof that a person has either been vaccinated against Covid-19, received a negative test result or recovered from the virus and has antibodies.

The system will be “non-discriminatory” against those not vaccinated. The certificate will be available free of charge in a digital or paper format and will include a QR code to ensure security and authenticity of the travel pass.

The certificate system will be a temporary measure and will be suspended once the World Health Organisation (WHO) declares the end of the Covid-19 international health emergency.

To be ready before the summer, the European Commission said the proposal needs a swift adoption by the European Parliament and the European Council.

Dr. Glynn said that he hopes that by June, as the vaccine rollout continues, Ireland will be in a “far, far brighter and better position than we are at the moment or that we’ve been over the past year”.

Glynn stressed the need to continue to be cautious but wouldn’t be drawn on whether a continuation of strict restrictions would be required well into the summer months.

“I’m not going to say that we need tight restrictions because the headline tomorrow morning is ‘NPHET says no easing of restrictions’,” Glynn said.

“What we need to do is avoid another wave of this disease between now and June.”