Too soon to book flights home for Christmas, Varadkar warns

Too soon to book flights home for Christmas, Varadkar warns”

Countless Irish people have immigrated and set up lives in Europe, the UK, Canada, the United States and elsewhere, but with many of those countries now deep into their second wave, Irish people travelling home from those countries pose a "significant risk".

Earlier this week, meanwhile, Cabinet agreed that, from 29 November, people travelling to Ireland from countries in a red category will not have to restrict their movements once they pass a PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) Covid-19 test five days after their arrival in the country.

Irish living overseas will have to accept the "difficult" reality that it is now "unlikely" they will be able to fly home for Christmas, the Sinn Féin leader has said. Speaking in the Dáil this morning, Mr Varadkar said it was "too soon" for people to book flights returning to Ireland.

Responding to Varadkar's comments on Thursday, a Ryanair spokesperson said: "The EU 'Traffic Light" travel system, designed by the ECDC (European Centre for Disease Control), gives people the certainty they need to book flights.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has advised people to hold off from booking any flights for travel around the Christmas period.

However, the decision will largely rest on advice from the Chief Medical Officer.

I think in terms of people booking flights for Christmas to come home, I'd advise them not to do that at the moment. But certainly, we're not in the position at this point to advise people that it's safe to come home for Christmas.

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"We need to know if there is adequate capacity in the tracing system to be able to respond to an inevitable spike in positive results".

"We are never going to close the border and we are not in the same boat as other island nations".

"We'd all really love to have some kind of normal Christmas and spend it with families".

"It's important to bear in mind that public health considerations and business considerations are the two sides of the same coin".

Tests are expected to cost between €100 and €200.

The Department of Health has significant concerns about the impact of a major increase in the number of people flying into Ireland for Christmas in the fight against Covid-19.

"A co-ordinated Team Europe response package has provided over 35 billion euro to date".

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