Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson has urged the Irish Government to walk back COVID-19 related travel restrictions as the summer travel season traditionally gets underway. Wilson called on the government to recognize the increasing pace of vaccine rollouts across the continent and scrap hotel quarantine rules.
Despite a slow start, the rate of vaccinations across Europe is gathering some serious pace. Meanwhile, COVID-19 infection rates have largely been falling across the continent, with Germany’s incidence today falling under 100 for the first time since March 20th. While quarantine-free travel is now possible to Germany from over 100 countries, the same cannot be said about the UK and Ireland.
Ryanair wants restrictions relaxed
Ryanair’s CEO Eddie Wilson today called on the Irish Government to relax COVID-19 travel restrictions. Ryanair wants restrictions lifted for all those from the UK and Ireland. Wilson listed four main reasons he believes such action is warranted,
- Irish hospitals have fewer than 100 COVID-19 patients.
- Every high-risk group in Ireland has now been vaccinated.
- In Europe, roughly 40% of adults have had at least one vaccine dose.
Finally, Wilson pointed out that despite a vaccination rate of 60%, those traveling from Great Britain must quarantine for 14 days on arrival. This is despite those in Northern Ireland being able to cross the border without restrictions, while Irish citizens can travel to the UK with no limits.
Commenting, Wilson said,
“Ireland’s travel restrictions are now outdated, inappropriate and unnecessary for air travel to/from the UK, and the European Union, where successful vaccination programs have eliminated any risk to our hospitals and health services.
“It’s time our Government got the country and our tourism industry back to work, and we call again on Minister Eamonn Ryan to action the Aviation Task Force Report he received in July 2020 – 10 months ago – which has been gathering dust on his desk for 10 months with no action taken whatsoever.”
Europe’s vaccine rollout
Despite a slow start, the vaccine rollout across the European Union is starting to gather significant pace. According to the European Center For Disease Prevention and Control, 35.5% of adults have received one dose of the vaccine, with 14.1% of adults now fully vaccinated. In the United Kingdom, which is a considerable market for Irish Ryanair, the figures are even higher. 68.2% of adults have received one vaccine, while 35.9% have received both doses.
What are the rules in Ireland?
According to the Irish Government, all those arriving in Ireland must quarantine for two weeks, reduced to five days with a negative COVID-19 test. This includes travelers from the United Kingdom. Like the UK, passengers from a handful of countries must quarantine in a managed hotel scheme. The latter is something Ryanair described as ‘failed’.
In addition, the government has a general advisory against non-essential international travel. This stops short of the UK’s total ban on non-essential travel. The UK’s ban will expire on Monday, but travel from most countries will still require quarantine. This has led to Ryanair canceling flights on some routes, such as London to Frankfurt.
Do you think that Ireland should relax its COVID-19 travel rules? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!