Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said young people who are not fully vaccinated can travel abroad this summer, despite the chief medical officer’s advice to the contrary.
People under the age of 30 are unlikely to have both vaccine doses until September at the earliest and the CMO, Dr Tony Holohan has advised people not to travel if they are not fully vaccinated.
Mr Varadkar said it would be “unfair” to ask them not to travel, when the EU’s digital travel cert, set to be introduced on July 19, allows for travel for people who take PCR tests or who have previously had Covid.
He added: “The advice from the chief medical officer is very clear.
“He’s saying that people who aren’t fully vaccinated shouldn’t travel, people who are fully vaccinated can.
“Because if you’re fully vaccinated, it’s very unlikely you will pick up the virus, it’s very unlikely you’ll bring it back to Ireland.
“And if I was the CMO, that’s the advice that I would give.
“Because we are the Government, we have to take wider considerations into account, and that’s why the Government advice, the law we’re putting in place is actually different than the CMO’s advice.
“We are saying that people who aren’t fully vaccinated, including all those young people can travel abroad, but they will need to get a PCR test before they return and that is the protection that we’re looking for.”
Mr Varadkar said the CMO’s advice is “totally right from scientific and medical grounds” but because of the “unfairness” to young people, he is giving them the green light to travel.
He said young people wishing to go abroad will need to have the EU digital travel certificate, and take PCR tests.
He told RTÉ’s The Week In Politics: “I’d say this to anyone who’s thinking of travelling by the way internationally.”
He said people needed to be aware of the rules both in the country they are travelling to, and in Ireland for their return journey.
The Tánaiste also warned that restrictions on international travel could return if the Delta variant takes off.
He said: “It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that if Delta really takes off all over Europe and all around the world that we could see travel restrictions being re-imposed again.
“Look at what Belgium did today, for example, banning travel from the UK.”
Dr Holohan has already urged the public not to engage in non-essential travel to the UK amid concerns over the Delta variant.
Sunday brought an additional 288 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, according to the Department of Health.
As of midnight on Saturday there were 49 people in hospital with the disease, of whom 15 are in intensive care units.
Daily case numbers may change due to future data review, validation and update, owing to the cyber attack on the HSE.
Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland