Update: Ireland no longer requires vaccinated travellers to provide COVID-19 test results when arriving in the country.
Ireland’s Department of Health has said that travellers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer be required to present a negative PCR or rapid antigen test when arriving in Ireland.
Schengenvisainfo reports that pre-entry testing requirements for all arrivals, regardless of vaccination status, started in early December. This decision was taken in order to contain the spread of the Omicron variant throughout Ireland.
PREVALENCE OF OMICRON IN IRELAND
Since the Omicron variant now accounts for the majority of infections in Ireland, the government believes it is no longer necessary to keep such requirements in place.
“The decisions taken in relation to travel, also in terms of removing the restrictions that had been in place because of Omicron, in terms of the requirement of antigen and PCR test will no longer be necessary. Basically, because Omicron now constitutes 96 percent of cases in the country,” Taoiseach Micheál Martin told RTE News.
VISA-FREE ENTRY TO IRELAND
Ireland has long been a favourite destination for many South Africans. This is due to its pristine natural attractions as well a cheerful atmosphere that visitors to the country seem to enjoy.
The country was also a preferred destination for South Africans, due to offering visa-free entry to South African passport holders. Ireland revoked this privilege last year in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the country. Ireland has since reinstated its visa-free travel regime for South African nationals.
COVID-19 TESTING SCRAPPED
There appears to be a shift in requiring Covid-19 test results from vaccinated passengers on arrival in a number of countries. Denmark, which reopened its borders last month, is one of the forerunners in this development, choosing to rely on test results obtained after arriving in the country.
From false-positive results to vaccinated individuals testing positive, Covid-19 testing has not been totally reliable. Covid testing has shown that it is not fully reliable since individuals can test negative before taking a flight and then test positive when arriving at a destination.
UNVACCINATED TRAVELLERS TO IRELAND
Ireland’s testing requirement rule will not be dropped for non-vaccinated travellers. Unvaccinated travellers planning to visit Ireland will still be required to present a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours before arrival.
By: Lorne Philpot