Ireland Starts Charging Citizens for Non-Essential Travelling PCR Tests

Starting from Monday, people wanting to travel outside Ireland will be obliged to pay for PCR tests if their reason for travel is non-essential, thus tourism. The same day, people vaccinated against Coronavirus will start receiving their EU Digital COVID-19 Vaccination Passport, reports.

A special call centre will contact nearly 170,000 people who have recovered from COVID-19 in the recent six months to give them their certificates.

Taoiseach or the Prime Minister of Ireland, Micheál Martin, notified his colleagues of the pandemic’s situation, noting that the case numbers were increasing, but the number of hospitalisations remained stable.

On the other hand, the medical Chief officer, Tony Holohan, said that “a small but concerning” surge has been noticed on the hospitalisation lately, as the Coronavirus Delta variant has started spreading.

About 54 people, including 16 in intensive care, were being treated in hospital for the virus yesterday, 39 more compared to a fortnight ago.

Furthermore, due to the increased demand, the ministers agreed to set the capacity on public transport from 50 per cent to 75 per cent, starting from July 19.

Although travelling abroad is strongly discouraged, the government will participate in the EU scheme and start implementing the EU Digital COVID-19 Vaccination Passport. Even though people don’t have to be vaccinated to travel abroad after July 19, the health authorities in Ireland advise not to.

There is a feeling among some Ministers that the reopening could be postponed to the end of July. PM Martin told Ministers to maintain flexibility in their public answers on pubs until the government arrives at the position.

More than 1.8 million people who have been fully vaccinated will start receiving their vaccination certificates by post or email from Monday. Certificates for negative PCR tests will be issued through approved private operators. A Government spokesman noted this would help avoid the public system coming under pressure from people asking for tests to travel.

People who have recovered from COVID-19 recently will have to contact a call centre to request a travel certificate. Although the spokesman did not give a date for when the centre would open, he indicated that the goal was for it to start operating by July 19.

Tánaiste or the Deputy Head of the government, Leo Varadkar, said that Irish people need to persist in falling into a “spiral of fear” over the Delta wave. He said he believed the British government’s plans to ease most COVID-19 restrictions in England from July 19 was “too risky.”

 “If things go wrong in England, it will have a spillover effect in Ireland and on our other neighbours,” he said.

As reported previously, France has been discussing charging its nationals for COVID-19 tests used for non-essential reasons in a bid to increase the vaccination rates.

As reported previously, Ireland has announced that it would start issuing the document from the middle of July. However, Didier Reynders, the European Commissioner for Justice, believes that Ireland’s delay has to do with the cyber-attacks, which affected the Irish Health Service Executive.

Previously, the Chief Executive of Ryanair, Edward Wilson, noted that 1.5 million fully vaccinated Irish nationals are not able to travel freely due to the delay of EU COVID-19 Vaccination Passport implementation.

“With over 1.5 million Irish adults fully vaccinated, less than 45 Covid patients in hospital and less than 15 in intensive care units, there is no justification for any further delays,” Wilson said.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) figures, Ireland has reported 365 positive cases with Coronavirus and no deaths.

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