Covid: 11,036 cases as rules leave some under-40s unable to travel with Digital Cert

Covid: 11,036 Cases As Rules Leave Some Under-40S Unable To Travel With Digital Cert
Fine Gael Senator Garret Ahearn has warned the issue will only 'intensify' as more young people seek to travel. Photo: Getty Images
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Ireland logged a further 11,036 cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, as testing and travel rules left some under the age of 40 unable to use the EU Digital Covid Cert to travel abroad.

5,649 cases were confirmed by PCR test, while 5,387 positive antigen test results were uploaded to the HSE portal. The Department has cautioned that self-registered test results are not directly comparable with laboratory PCR-confirmed cases.


Those planning to travel using a digital cert must have a booster shot, proof of recovery from Covid or currently remain within nine months of their second vaccine dose under a new validity period in effect since February 1st.

However, those aged between four and 39 have been ineligible for HSE PCR testing since the new year, leaving many who have recovered from the virus unable to access a recovery cert without a confirmatory PCR test, and unable to get a booster vaccine dose until three months post-infection.

Fine Gael Senator Garret Ahearn has warned the issue will only “intensify” as more young people seek to travel more than nine months after their primary vaccination.


Their EU Digital Covid Certs now cannot be renewed

“We have a situation at present where those under the age of 40 who have had their first and second vaccines cannot receive their boosters for three months because they recently contracted Covid, and yet also cannot apply for a Covid recovery certificate,” he said.

“During Christmas, we asked people under 40 to take antigen tests instead of PCR tests and, because of that, under EU rules they are now not able to register for a Covid recovery certificate to update their EU Digital Covid Certificate.

“Many people’s Covid Certificates will have expired on February 1st, and for those who cannot register for a recovery cert or receive a booster, their EU Digital Covid Certs now cannot be renewed.”



Mr Ahearn called for a reduction in the interval between recovering from Covid and receiving a booster to four weeks, in order to encourage vaccine uptake and enable younger people to travel abroad safely.

“We must take a look at the three month booster interval and reduce the wait time, if in line with public health advice, in order to encourage booster uptake,” he said.

“This issue is causing significant problems for people when they travel within the EU as they now face barriers to entering into countries without their EU Digital Covid Certs.

“As more and more young people look forward to booking flights and to finally traveling abroad, this is an issue which will only intensify, and we should encourage as many young people as possible to take-up their booster shoots enabling them to travel in the safest way possible.”


Although the percentage of those who have received a booster is significantly lower among younger age groups in Ireland, the majority of those aged between 18 and 49 will not reach the nine-month cut-off point for their cert until the summer.

The Digital Covid Cert is not a precondition for travel in the EU but does make travelling easier, and people can still travel by taking a PCR test within a set window beforehand.

Meanwhile, there were 595 patients hospitalised with the virus as of this morning, down 32 since yesterday, with 63 people in intensive care, down five.

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