The Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has received more than 1,600 calls and emails since the country’s authorities imposed new travel restrictions in a bid to stem the spread of the alternative COVID-19 Omicron.
Since December 5, through a decree signed by Ireland’s Minister of Health, Stephen Donnelly, all people planning to enter Ireland are required to submit a negative coronavirus test result.
In addition, through a statement published by the Department of Health, it was made clear that testing on arrival is also mandatory for all people planning to enter Ireland, TheSchengen.com reports.
“All arrivals 12 years of age or older who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 must submit a negative or undetected antigen test (taken within 48 hours prior to arrival) or a negative or undetected RT-PCR test. (to be taken within 72 hours prior to arrival),” read the statement published by the Irish government.
These new restrictions have raised concerns among Irish citizens about how the restrictions will affect people returning to Ireland and how the new changes the government is implementing will affect their travel plans.
According to figures provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), Ireland has recorded a total of 597,161 cases of COVID-19 and 5,707 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
The World Health Organization figures also revealed that in the past seven days, more than 32,500 people tested positive for the Corona virus and its new strains, while 55 people died.
In addition, yesterday, the authorities in Ireland confirmed three cases of omicron infection. These numbers prompted the authorities in Ireland to introduce additional preventive measures such as testing requirements in order to keep the epidemiological situation under control and stem a further increase in the number of COVID-19 infections.
The Irish Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, contacted nearly 200 citizens and family members who were trying to secure return flights to Ireland.
“Flights have now begun to resume, and many of the affected citizens have returned to Ireland,” the officials noted.
Assistant Secretary of Transportation Vintan Toei stressed that air passenger numbers have fallen by 80% in 2020, compared to pre-pandemic levels, due to COVID-19.
The introduction of mandatory travel restrictions and quarantines led to a decline of nearly 80 percent between January and June 2021.
Due to the coronavirus situation, airports are still operating at between 50 percent and 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels.