Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.54 14 May 2021


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The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said Ireland is aiming to have the EU digital green certificate for travel implemented by the end of July.

European Union leaders agreed earlier this year to work on the certs to try and kickstart the tourism industry.

The cert will be proof, in digital or paper format, that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

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It will also contain information around a person's negative test result, or whether they have recovered from the virus.

Mr Varadkar said: "When it comes to the EU digital green cert, the information that I have is that the European Union intends to have that ready for sometime around the middle of June.

"Member states will have about six weeks to get that up and running - we believe we'll be able to have it up and running within that six week period.

"Really end of July is when we'd expect to have that issued".

And he said, in relation to testing for travel, PCR tests will continue to be used.

"In terms of antigen testing for international travel, we're not considering that.

"PCR will remain the standard when it comes to international travel."

Antigen tests 'an additional measure'

He also said messaging in relation to store-sold antigen tests was "very wrong".

It comes after NPHET's modeling expert, Professor Philip Nolan, compared antigen tests, sold by Lidl, to 'snake oil' in a recent tweet.

But Mr Varadkar said the tests could be used as an additional measure.

"I think the way you see it is as an additional health and safety measure.

"It's not a case of antigen tests or masks, or a case of antigen tests or social distancing.

"It's a case of 'this is an additional thing that we can do to help' that will identify cases that otherwise would not be identified."

On Prof Nolan's comments, he said: "It's difficult for me to interpret what other people have said, but I did see Philip's tweet on that.

"And to me that seemed to be a reaction to the particular Lidl ad - which was sausages, charcoal, antigen test - go off and take this test at home, you're negative, off you go to the barbeque, shake hands, hug people.

"That to me was a very wrong message in that ad, and I think that's what he was being critical of, but I can't really speak for him.

"However, in fairness to Lidl, they are among the employers who are offering weekly tests to their staff and I think that's beneficial".

And he said the Government will have to decide on the future of the mandatory hotel quarantine system next month.

The legislation in relation the quarantine system expires in the middle of June.

He also said a memo regarding travel will be discussed by the Cabinet on Tuesday.

"The legislation in relation to mandatory hotel quarantine actually expires in the middle of June.

"So we'll have to make a decision as to whether that legislation needs to be renewed, and if so, renewed for what and in what context."

Main image: Tánaiste Leo Varadkar addressing media at the publication of a Work Safely Protocol - and updated protocol for employers on ventilation, vaccinations & antigen testing. Picture by: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

Additional reporting: Sean Defoe


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Antigen Tests EU Green Cert Ireland July Lidl Mandatory Hotel Quarantine PCR Tests Philip Nolan Travel Varadkar

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