Ireland's Chief Medical Officer Reportedly Says International Travel Can Recommence Without Need For COVID-19 Tests When Enough Irish And European Residents Have Been Vaccinated
Ireland's chief medical officer, Doctor Tony Holohan, has reportedly said that international travel can recommence without the need for COVID-19 tests when enough Irish and European residents have been vaccinated.
As reported by The Irish Times, addressing an Oireachtas committee, Holohan said that the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) supports the government's intention to recommence international travel from July 19.
Holohan reportedly told the Oireachtas committee that that as progress on vaccinations continues in Ireland and Europe, "we will see extensive resumption of airline travel in the late summer without the need for any form of testing".
Holohan was reportedly responding to questions from the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications Networks about using rapid antigen testing for international travel, and reportedly said that that is the case notwithstanding fears about COVID-19 strains such as the Delta variant, which has adversely impacted reopening plans in the UK.
EU Digital COVID Certificate
Holohan reportedly added that Nphet favours the EU Digital COVID Certificate system, which will allow individuals who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID-19 to travel internationally "without the hurdle of testing".
Call For Antigen Testing Pilot Programme For Air Travel
According to The Irish Times, the Committee on Transport and Communications has written to Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan to request that he write to Holohan to request the "urgent commencement" of an antigen testing pilot programme for air travel.
The committee has reportedly also made the call directly to Holohan, Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, as well as a number of ministers and senior civil servants.
According to The Irish Times, the committee's chairman, Kieran O'Donnell TD, noted that Holohan supported its proposal to begin an antigen testing pilot programme for air travel, but said, "However, he informed us that, to date, he has received no such a request from any government department or minister."
The Irish Times quotes O'Donnell as saying, "The committee has requested minister Ryan to confirm that the matter is being expedited, providing a specific commencement date for the rapid antigen testing pilot programme for aviation."
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