Traveller health and COVID-19 update
Here's what you need to know about medical insurance, hospitals and pharmacies.
GOOD TO KNOW
The authorities in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland continue to take measures to protect public safety and limit the spread of COVID-19 on the island of Ireland. They continue to advise against all non-essential travel to the island until further notice.
Republic of Ireland
All passengers arriving into the Republic of Ireland are required to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form (PLF). All passengers are also required to have a negative/‘not detected’ result from a pre-departure COVID-19 RT-PCR test (only this kind of test is acceptable), taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland. Passengers will be asked to present evidence of their negative/‘not detected’ result before boarding their airplane or ferry; and will be required to produce this evidence to immigration officers on arrival at points of entry to the State. Children aged six and under are exempt from this requirement.
On 4 February 2021, a legal requirement to home quarantine was introduced for all passengers arriving in Ireland. Only very limited categories of passengers can be exempt from this legal requirement.
Additional hotel quarantine requirements were agreed in respect of a number of countries and territories designated as ‘Category 2’. Click here to view the ‘Category 2’ countries/territories.
From 26 March 2021, any passenger who has been in any ‘Category 2’ country in the previous 14 days, even if only transiting through one of the countries, and even if remaining airside, is legally required to quarantine at a designated facility (Mandatory Hotel Quarantine). Passengers required to undertake Mandatory Hotel Quarantine must pre-book a place in the designated facility prior to arrival to Ireland. Passengers will be required to present evidence of this booking to their flight or ferry operator, in order to board the airplane or ferry to Ireland. Bookings are open and can be made here. Additional information on Mandatory Hotel Quarantine, including in relation to costs, is available here.
If you are arriving into Northern Ireland, you must complete a full 10-day period of self-isolation. More information can be found here. You must also provide your journey details before you travel by completing a UK Passenger Locator Form (PLF).
Anyone intending to travel directly, or via another country, to Northern Ireland from outside the Common Travel Area (United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands) must:
- provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to three days before departure;
- provide their journey and contact details by completing the Passenger Locator Form (PLF);
- self-isolate for 10 days (the day of arrival in Northern Ireland will be treated as day zero);
- and book a day two and eight test kit, if travelling from non 'red list' countries.
More information can be found here.
From 16 April, more stringent measures are in place for people who have travelled from, or passed through, a ‘red list’ country, in the last 10 days before arrival. Anyone arriving from a ‘red list’ country must quarantine in a managed isolation hotel. They will need to book and pay for a managed isolation package before completing the Passenger Locator Form and making their journey to Northern Ireland. Anyone not complying with the regulations may be refused boarding by the carrier and / or fined on arrival. Further information on ‘red list’ countries can be found here. Information about booking a managed isolation hotel package can be found here.
If people arrive in Northern Ireland having travelled through the Republic of Ireland, they must complete a UK Passenger Locator Form. This is in addition to travel information they may be required to provide to travel authorities in the Republic of Ireland.
If you’re concerned about how the situation will affect your travel plans, we recommend that you check with your airline, tour operator, cruise line or transport and accommodation providers.
COVID-19 travel questions
While healthcare throughout the island is of a high standard, you can expect all systems to be under significant pressure until further notice.
Republic of Ireland COVID-19 Safety Charter
The COVID-19 Safety Charter is a voluntary initiative for businesses in the Republic of Ireland that is designed to reassure visitors that government approved hygiene and safety procedures are in place. In addition to Ireland’s sector-specific operational guidelines for tourism businesses on how to meet government health recommendations, businesses signing up to the Charter and displaying the Charter logo are committing to observe and adhere to strict safety protocols.
Visitors can be assured that all businesses and their staff are displaying the COVID-19 Safety Charter logo have committed to strict hygiene and safety protocols and:
- Have a clear understanding of the COVID-19 infection
- Are aware of their role and responsibility in preventing the spread of COVID-19
- Have a clear understanding of the standard precautions needed to control infection
- Consistently demonstrate correct hand-washing technique and practices
- Apply all of this knowledge throughout the businesses’ operations.
Northern Ireland – We’re Good to Go
Northern Ireland’s tourism and hospitality industry has adopted the "Good to Go" policy which presents certified evidence that a business has adhered to government guidelines and is safe to re-open. The programme is aimed at accommodation providers, visitor attractions, restaurants and pubs, business conference and events venues and tour and coach operators.
"We’re Good To Go" is the official mark to signal that a tourism and hospitality business has worked hard to follow government and industry COVID-19 guidelines and has a process in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.
The "We’re Good To Go" scheme is a way for tourism businesses to reassure visitors and guests that:
- They are adhering to government and public health guidance, including the social distancing and cleanliness protocols that must be in place
- Have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment
- Have implemented the required health and safety processes to conduct business safely.
Most festivals and outdoor events have been cancelled or postponed. Please check festival websites for updated information. As it stands, groups of up to 30 people are allowed to meet outdoors in Northern Ireland. In the Republic of Ireland, outdoor gatherings are limited to 200 people. This is subject to change.
Republic of Ireland
The latest information and support about COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland can be found on the Health Service Executive’s website.
You can get the most up-to-date information and guidance on COVID-19 in Northern Ireland at the official Public Health Agency Northern Ireland’s website.
If you can’t find the information you need then drop us a line.
Travel to Ireland
If you are concerned about how the COVID-19 situation could affect your travel plans, we recommend that you check with your airline, tour operator, cruise line, event organiser or transport and accommodation providers.
Ireland has great healthcare, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you go. If you’re bringing medicines with you into Ireland, carry them in their original, clearly labelled container, along with your prescription or a letter from your doctor.
It’s a rule of thumb that anything over a three-month supply of medicine will be questioned and any “controlled drugs” as well as any syringes or needles, should be declared and explained in a letter from your doctor.
You should always obtain travel insurance to cover any potential overseas medical costs including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs, before you travel. Be sure to check for any exclusions that might affect your policy, that it covers all the activities you plan on doing in Ireland, and that it covers any pre-existing medical conditions. If you’re a member of an EU country or Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, bring a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which covers you for most medical care.
Medical insurance and Brexit
If you're a UK citizen and have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), this will remain valid until its expiry date. This scheme will be replaced by new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). You can find out more information at Gov.uk and EHIC.
There are plenty of pharmacies in Ireland, and they’re a good first stop for travellers seeking medical advice or a local referral. Most towns have one or two pharmacies and urban areas have many. Pharmacies generally operate from 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday, but many pharmacies in urban areas open late and on weekends.
Bring a spare pair of glasses or contact lenses with you and your optical prescription just in case.
Just as with most of western Europe, there are no vaccinations required to visit Ireland.