Traveller health and COVID-19 update
Here's what you need to know about medical insurance, hospitals and pharmacies.
GOOD TO KNOW
Unprecedented efforts are under way to safeguard public health and limit the spread of COVID-19 on the island of Ireland. Current government advice in the Republic of Ireland is to avoid non-essential international travel. From 19 July 2021, depending on the prevailing public health situation at the time, Ireland will operate the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) for travel originating within the EU/EEA. Please read below for guidance on travel to Northern Ireland. Tourism Ireland continues to monitor the situation closely.
Republic of Ireland
All passengers arriving in 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 Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (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.
All passengers arriving in Ireland (other than those from Category 2/‘Designated States’) are also currently legally required to home quarantine for 14 days. This quarantine must be undertaken at the address specified on the Passenger Locator Form. Only very limited categories of passengers can be exempt from this legal requirement. A test can be taken on day five of quarantine and if written proof of a negative result is received, then the quarantine period is permitted to end.
Separate requirements are in place in respect of Category 2 countries (‘Designated States’). Please see here for the current list of Designated States. Any passenger who has been in any Designated State in the previous 14 days, even if only transiting through one of these countries and even if remaining airside, is legally required to quarantine at a designated facility (mandatory hotel quarantine) on arrival in Ireland. For further information, please see the Government of Ireland website gov.ie.
Passengers who are fully vaccinated, and have the documents to prove that, do not have to complete mandatory hotel quarantine. Any dependents, including children, will also be exempted from the requirement to complete mandatory hotel quarantine. However, even if passengers are fully vaccinated, they still have to have a negative RT-PCR test taken in the 72 hours before departure and complete a period of self-quarantine at home or the location specified in their PLF. More information can be found here.
Passengers arriving in Ireland from EU/EEA: from 19 July 2021, subject to the prevailing public health situation, Ireland will operate the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) for travel originating within the EU/EEA. A DCC will show if a passenger:
- is vaccinated against COVID-19;
- has recovered from COVID-19; or
- has a negative test result
Passengers arriving in Ireland with a DCC will not have to undergo quarantine.
However, passengers with a DCC based on a non-PCR test (for example, antigen), or those arriving without a DCC, will require proof of a negative RT-PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival. Children aged between 7 and 18 who have not been vaccinated must also have a negative PCR test.
All passengers will be advised to observe public health restrictions and to present for post-arrival testing if they develop symptoms of COVID-19.
Passengers arriving in Ireland from outside EU/EEA: from 19 July, Ireland will also broadly align itself to the EU approach to non-essential travel to the EU from third countries. The approach to travel outside the EU/EEA will also apply to travel from Great Britain and the United States.
To protect its citizens against importation of variants, an ‘emergency brake’ mechanism will be coordinated at EU level, to react swiftly to the emergence of a variant of concern or variant of interest. Government advice will be to avoid travel to/from a country where the ‘emergency brake’ has been applied.
Passengers arriving in Northern Ireland from within the Common Travel Area (which includes the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands) do not need to self-isolate upon arrival. However, if staying overnight in Northern Ireland, passengers should take a rapid lateral flow device test (LFD) before beginning their journey. Passengers should only travel if the test is negative. They should also take an LFD test on days two and eight of their stay. They should not travel to Northern Ireland if they have COVID-19 symptoms or have received a positive COVID-19 result.
Before travelling to Northern Ireland from outside the Common Travel Area and from a ‘Green List’ country, passengers must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to three days before departure, book and pay for a day two COVID-19 PCR test and complete a UK Passenger Locator form 48 hours before departure. Please see here for the current ‘Green List’ countries.
Passengers travelling to Northern Ireland from an ‘Amber’ country, either directly or via another country, must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to three days before departure, book post-arrival testing, complete a UK Passenger Locator form 48 hours before departure and self-isolate for 10 days. Click here for more information.
Passengers travelling to Northern Ireland from a ‘Red List’ country, or transiting through a ‘Red List’ country in the previous 10 days, must provide proof of a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test, complete a UK Passenger Locator form 48 hours before departure, and book and enter managed isolation (hotel quarantine) for 10 days. Please see here for the current ‘Red List’ countries.
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.
More information can be found here.
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 and that it covers all the activities you plan on doing in Ireland, and make sure that your travel insurance has medical cover. If you’re a member of the 28 EU countries or Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, bring a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which covers you for most medical care.
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.