August at earliest for return of international travel, Varadkar says

ireland
August At Earliest For Return Of International Travel, Varadkar Says
Leo Varadkar said it could be 'August at the earliest' when people could travel. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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Digital Desk Staff

August is the earliest the country could see a return to international travel, according to the Tánaiste.

Leo Varadkar has confirmed that the Cabinet will decide upon a roadmap to allow international travel recommence in the summer, as reported by the Irish Examiner.

He said that it could be “August at the earliest” when people could travel, despite other Cabinet sources suggesting it could happen sooner than that.

Mr Varadkar said he had not yet seen the memorandum on the EU digital green cert but indicated a decision to remove EU countries from the mandatory quarantine list may not be taken tomorrow but in due course.

“A lot can go wrong between now and then. A lot can go right too. The law at the moment is that it is against the law to leave Ireland for non-essential reasons.

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“We will have to change that law at some point. It does appear there will be a lot of flexibility given to countries as to how they use the digital cert,” he said.

Mr Varadkar said the EU digital green cert will be in place by June but said member states will have six weeks to adopt it.

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He confirmed that a scaling down of mandatory hotel quarantine is envisaged, Mr Varadkar said some form of quarantine will have to remain in place for areas of concern where vaccinations are not on par with Ireland.

“It is my fervent hope and ambition that we can restore the Common Travel Area with Britain very soon, this is travel without restrictions so we are hoping to restore that at some point this summer or autumn,” he said adding the hope is then to extend that out to Europe and possibly the United States.

“But there will be parts of the world that will not be vaccinated fully or even extensively until next year. Countries that pursued an elimination approach such as Australia and New Zealand, China and others will not be vaccinated until the middle of next year some time,” he said.

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