The government has agreed that individuals arriving at Irish ports and airports will require a negative COVID-19 test from Friday December 3.
Ryanair Group Chief Executive Statement
Reacting to the news of the requirement for negative COVID-19 tests to enter Ireland, Ryanair Group chief executive Michael O'Leary said in a statement published on corporate.ryanair.com, "We condemn this latest NPHET/Govt gobbledygook for what it is, ineffective and inappropriate gobbledygook. When EU passengers have, for the last 6 months, been travelling safely with the benefit of the EU DCC or negative PCRs, what medical or health benefit is to be derived by asking these passengers to now produce negative antigen tests, when both NPHET and the CMO have been opposed to antigen tests for 18 months? We note that neither the CMO nor the Govt have defined what a 'professionally done' antigen test means, or look like. How are airline or Border Control staff supposed to understand what a professionally done antigen test is, or looks like, when neither the CMO nor the Govt have even defined it.
"As an Island on the periphery of Europe, Ireland needs simple, but effective health measures for international travel. Today's gobbledygook from NPHET/Govt is the opposite of that. We now have different rules for vax passengers travelling here from Europe, who now have to produce an undefined negative antigen test, or better still, they can fly into Belfast, and travel across the border without any vaccine or antigen test whatsoever. This is the latest example of NPHET and the CMO (the people who originally opposed face masks, track & tracing, and antigen testing) making it up as they go along when both the European Union and the ECDC have already introduced a successful EU Vax Cert, which has allowed safe international intra-EU air travel for the past 6 months.
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"If this Govt had any spine or leadership, it would ignore NPHET's nonsense advice on travel. There is no medical or health benefit to be gained by requiring vaccinated EU citizens to provide negative antigen or PCR tests prior to their arrival in Ireland. At a time when over 90% of Ireland's adults are fully vaccinated, these confusing new regulations requiring unexplained 'professionally done' antigen tests provide no additional medical or health benefit, but are yet another way for NPHET and the Govt to restrict air travel on and off an Island on the periphery of Europe.
"Ryanair calls on the Government to abandon this latest NPHET gobbledygook and return to a simple, and readily understood system, followed by most of the rest of the EU, which protects free movement of EU citizens, subject only to production of an EU DCC or a negative PCR test."
UCD Assistant Professor Of Virology Statements
As reported by rte.ie, assistant professor of virology at University College Dublin (UCD) Doctor Gerald Barry has reportedly said that antigen testing on travellers coming into Ireland will not reduce the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and is just "window dressing".
Barry reportedly said that there should be a bigger emphasis on controlling the spread of the disease within the country, rather than focussing on border controls.
Barry reportedly said while speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland radio programme that it is necessary to dramatically ramp up the testing and tracing system to detect new cases and rapidly clamp down on them, and that the intention behind antigen testing before flights to reduce variants is correct, but that the manner in which it is being done "will not achieve that aim".
Barry reportedly said that it is "completely pointless" to carry out antigen testing 48 hours ahead of travel, and reportedly added that a number of tests would be needed before and after travelling, as a once-off test does nothing to properly identify the virus.
Barry reportedly said that the evidence for using PCR tests is "stronger", but that a 72 hour window is "probably too long", and, "It also leaves the window of getting infected on the flight, which we know evidence points to is possible as well."
Barry reportedly said that Ireland is massively under testing and under sequencing cases, that there may be many more Omicron cases here that have not been detected, and, "We are only sequencing around 10% of our cases, so there is probably lots of cases in the country."
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