Ireland to drop COVID-19 test requirement for vaccinated arrivals

Ryanair planes are seen at Dublin Airport, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Dublin, Ireland, May 1, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

DUBLIN, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Ireland will no longer require vaccinated arriving travellers to present a negative COVID-19 test, Prime Minister Micheál Martin said on Wednesday.

A government spokesman said the change will take effect on Thursday.

Unvaccinated travellers will still be required to show a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival.

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Ireland introduced the testing measure a month ago to slow the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant. Omicron now accounts for almost all Irish infections, which have rocketed to record levels in the last two weeks. read more

Martin also said he believed Ireland's current restrictions to slow the spread of infection are effective and that it remained to be seen whether health chiefs will suggest any changes later this week.

The government tightened COVID-19 restrictions last month, shutting nightclubs and ordering pubs and restaurants to close at 8 p.m.

"There will be a challenging number of weeks in January. The next week or ten days will give us more evidence in terms of the impact of this variant on severity of illness and that will inform decisions on a broad range of issues," Martin told a news conference.

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Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Jon Boyle, Kirsten Donovan and Cynthia Osterman

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