On Friday, Ireland announced it will implement the European Union’s COVID-19 travel certificate to help citizens move more freely across the bloc beginning July 19. The country will broadly apply the same approach to arrivals from other nations, including the US and UK.

Prime Minister Micheal Martin also confirmed that there will be a gradual ease of restrictions from one of the EU’s longest and toughest lockdowns. Bars and restaurants will be able to serve guests indoors from July 5. Although with heavy restrictions on attendance, arts and sports events can also restart both indoors and outside.

In the EU, Ireland currently has the most stringent travel restrictions. The country advises citizens against non-essential travel, levies fines on those heading to airports to go on leisure travel and imposes a two-week mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals from 50 countries.

The European Union certification scheme will allow travellers who have taken the vaccine, have a negative test or are immune after recovering from COVID-19 to move freely around the bloc.

Under Ireland’s plan, children aged between 7 and 18 who have not been vaccinated must possess a negative COVID-19 test before arriving into the country, regardless of the departure point.

Arrivals from outside the bloc with a valid proof of vaccination can also travel freely, as long as those countries that they arrive from are not deemed to be at high risk of spreading coronavirus variants.

Unvaccinated visitors from outside the EU must be in possession of a negative test on arrival and will be required to self-quarantine until they take a second post-arrival test.

The approach to ease restrictions for travel outside the European Economic Area will apply to the United Kingdom and the United States – Ireland’s two major tourist markets.

Unlike the British-run Northern Ireland, the Irish officials chose not to allow unencumbered arrivals from the rest of the UK, citing concerns over the rapid spread of the coronavirus variant first seen in India. The more contagious variant accounts for 6-7% of cases in Ireland.

Ireland, however, does allow free movement across its open border with Northern Ireland. Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar recognizes this as a loop-hole which meant that someone could travel freely to Ireland from Britain via Belfast.

Next week, ministers will begin to set out a new phase of fiscal supports. Prime Minister Martin said, “If we continue to mind each other, if we continue to make the right choices, the end of this is within our grasp.”

Also Read: EU Reaches Deal On COVID-19 Travel Certificates


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