IRISH holidaymakers will have to foot the bill on pre-travel Covid-19 PCR tests this summer if they want to travel abroad and have not been vaccinated or recovered from virus infection.
The tests cost anywhere from 100 to 200 and a negative test will be required when travelling out of and into Ireland, with the digital green certificate, from July 19.
International travel will resume from July 19Credit: PA
Passengers will be required to show proof of vaccination, recover from the virus, or a negative PCR testCredit: PA
Minister Ossian Smyth said the State will not be paying for holidaymaker’s tests
Minister of State Ossian Smyth has today confirmed that the Government will not be providing free tests to those who wish to travel abroad this summer.
International travel will resume from July 19 under Ireland’s latest re-opening plan.
Government advice will change from asking people to avoid non-essential travel, to advising the public to travel safely in line with public guidelines.
In order to travel, people will have have to use the EU digital green certificate which will carry proof of Covid-19 vaccination, proof of recovery from virus infection or a negative PCR test.
Rapid antigen tests which are much cheaper but less sensitive than PCR tests are also included on the certificate, but will not be accepted when returning to Ireland.
Other EU countries may decide to accept people with a negative antigen test.
Minister Smyth told RTE Radio 1, the Government will not be providing free PCR tests or subsidising the cost of the tests for those hoping to travel.
And in the circumstance of families with children above seven years of age, each child, who has not been infected with and recovered from Covid-19, will need to be tested with one of the pricey swabs.
Even in families where both parents are vaccinated this could mean a bill in the hundreds of euro for children PCR tests.
When questioned on the cost implications for families Minister Smyth admitted travelling with be “costly” for many.
He said it is cheaper for people to wait for vaccination before travelling and added that free PCR tests will not be issued to hopeful holidaymakers.
The Minister said: “It is in addition to the cost of travel and particularly in the area of low flight costs and vaccination in most countries is free, so that is the cheaper alternative.”
He added: “Just to be clear, the State is not going to test you for free before you go away on a holiday”.
Yesterday, the European Medicines Agency has approved the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines for use in children aged between 12 and 15 years old.
Irelands National Immunisation Advisory Committee will now consider the EMAs decision before bringing their own advice to Government.
However it may still be weeks before the vaccination of under 18 year old’s begins.
Minister Smyth said: “I understand the EMA has approved vaccinations for children now and they were previously approved in the US and there were tests done on children which came after they tested on adults.
He added: “It protects them for the future, it protects their parents and their grandparents. And they’re not completely free from risk if a child does get Covid. I understand that there is still a risk of death and hospitalisation even in people under 25. SO they’re not risk free.
“I think that if it is a safe thing to do and if we are advised by NIAC that this is the right course to take, I think we will be looking at vaccinating children as well.”