Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has advised against anyone booking foreign holidays this summer if it can’t be cancelled.
e confirmed that Ireland will sign up for the EU vaccine passport system, which is due to be launched on June 26. This would allow people who are fully vaccinated to travel within the union.
Appearing on RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live tonight following the news of a significant easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Ireland starting on May 10, Mr Varadkar was asked if Irish people could travel in Europe in the summer when this passport system is implemented.
“I can’t say that at this stage,” he said. “I wouldn’t advise anyone to book anything that can’t be cancelled anyway at this stage.”
The Tánaiste said the first step when it comes to international travel will be reestablishing the common travel area between Britain and Ireland.
“What I can say is we will probably enter into a strange situation in June or July when there will be tourists from Ireland in Northern Ireland, tourists from Northern Ireland in Ireland and there will be English tourists in Northern Ireland and we could even meet English people in Northern Ireland,” he said.
“So one thing we might need to consider as a first step is reestablishing the common travel area between Britain and Ireland and that might be an initial step and then perhaps the EU after that.”
When asked if restrictions are beginning to be significantly eased because the Government was on the verge of losing the publics compliance, Mr Varadkar said he is astounded by the resiliance of the Irish public.
“90pc of people 90pc of the time are doing what they are being asked to do,” he said.
“And that is why I believe Ireland has one of the lowest [Covid] mortality rates in Europe, it’s because of the Irish people and what they have done.”
Taoiseach Michéal Martin announced today that over 50s will be able to register for a Covid-19 vaccine on the portal from next week.
The AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccine have both been restricted for use in over 50s in Ireland due to rare cases of blood clots.
Ireland is due to receive 600,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in June. However, if over 50s are vaccinated before then this has brought up the question of who will receive these vaccines.
It has been suggested that younger people should be vaccinated first so that these Johnson & Johnson jabs can be used in the over 50s cohort.
The HSE will be publishing revised plans for the vaccination roll-out next week.
However, HSE boss Paul Reid today said that the vaccine roll-out will continue to be based on age and the Tánaiste mirrored this on Claire Byrne Live tonight.
“We are going to stick to the age-based roll out but we’re not going to leave vaccines unused,” he said.
“Since we started vaccination we have done groups in parallel. The portal opens for people over 50 next week but let’s say we had vaccines spare there’s no reason we couldn’t open the portal for people aged 45 to 50 at the same time.
“We won’t suddenly jump to the 20s or 30s but we could say for example have people in their 40s and 50s being offered an appointment.”
However, it still appears to be unclear who will be vaccinated with the Johnson and Johnson jabs due for arrival in June if all over 50s are vaccinated by then.