The government will issue 1.9 million digital certificates on Monday, but they will not be required for travel, the minister said


THE GOVERNMENT will issue 1.9 million EU Covid-19 digital passes starting next Monday, July 12, but they will not be needed for international travel, said Minister of State Ossian Smyth.

The EU document – essentially a QR code available on smartphones or in print – will be available to those who have been fully vaccinated, who have acquired natural immunity by contracting Covid-19 in the past six months, or who have a recent negative PCR test will be eligible for the Covid pass.

Smyth, government spokesperson for government procurement and e-government, told Morning Ireland that the digital certificate is not a prerequisite for travel, but will make it easier and faster to get through the airport. when non-essential international travel returns on July 19.

He said people without a certificate or who are not vaccinated can still travel with their existing documents, but they will still need a negative PCR test result.

“If for some reason you don’t have a certificate, for example, if you are not vaccinated for some reason, you can still travel with your existing documents. It hasn’t changed, ”he said.

“If you can prove that you have been vaccinated or that you have been tested, you can still travel. This is not a prerequisite for traveling, you do not need to have a Covid digital cert to travel on Monday week. But that makes it faster.

“If you want to go to Spain, or if you want to go to France, you don’t need to have a Covid digital certificate, it makes going through the airport easier and faster. But if you don’t have it, you can still travel with your existing documents.

“The rules on isolation are being abolished across Europe. So until now, if you took a little trip to France, it was hardly worth it because you had to go and isolate yourself for several days – and ditto in Ireland. We are therefore removing these isolation rules. If you arrive with a vaccination or test certificate, you no longer have to isolate yourself. ”

If you are traveling within the EU, you can check the restrictions in your destination country here, while details of the restrictions for non-EU countries can be found here.

Smyth added: “If you have a Digital Covid Cert they will scan it, if you don’t, but you have proof that you have been vaccinated or tested and it cannot be scanned, that is just compared to your passport. “

He said that in the worst case, people can benefit from a test at the airport if they have no documents.

People who need a negative test to get a Digital Covid Cert will not be able to use the HSE’s free testing service to do so and will have to go through a private provider instead.

Private test providers will be able to issue digital covid certificates if the antigen or RT-PCR test is negative and taken no later than 72 hours before arrival. A certificate based on an antigen test will not be accepted for entry into Ireland but is acceptable in a number of other countries.

A Digital Covid Cert call center will be set up in the coming days to allow people to call and request a cert if they are entitled to it through natural immunity.

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This call center will also handle inquiries from people who have been fully vaccinated but have not yet received a Digital Covid Cert.

Smyth said that people who have been vaccinated at a mass vaccination center will receive their certificate by email while those who have visited a doctor, pharmacist or hospital will receive it in the mail, “and that is a sheet of paper”.

Talks are expected to resume this afternoon between the government and representatives of the hotel industry as part of efforts to bring about a return to dining.

A number of options are said to be on the table following a similar meeting on Monday, when attendees were told indoor dining could potentially reopen for 1.8 million fully vaccinated people under the new vaccine pass system.

Smyth said the certificates could be used by the hospitality industry, but details were still being “tightened”.

“I think they are considering using these digital certificates for entry and I think a proposal will likely be submitted to Cabinet on Tuesday in this regard in case any new laws or regulations are needed to operationalize this reopening,” he said. he declared.

“The important thing is that any program that comes forward is endorsed by restaurants and pubs as being workable and reasonable and in fact something they want to use.”


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