Children under 12 should be exempt from travel testing requirement – Doherty

8th July 2021 - Regina Doherty

The children’s age requirement for PCR testing upon return to Ireland from travel abroad must be raised to 12-years-old, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

In a letter sent to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, Senator Regina Doherty said, “As it currently stands, children over the age of 6 returning to Ireland are required to have a negative PCR test. In most other European countries, the cutoff point is 11 or 12 years old, or older. All children under these ages are exempt from test requirements.

“As we look to roll out the EU Digital Covid Certificate later this month, Ireland must come into line with our fellow EU member states on this requirement.

“As of July 1st, non-essential travel within the EU bloc resumed for the majority of countries. We are on track to follow this and facilitate intra-EU travel from July 19th with the commencement of the Covid Certificate, however the prohibitive costs of testing will be too much for some families.

“Families with young children who are not currently being vaccinated will have to pay hundreds of euros in order to return to Ireland from abroad. After being told that people are free to travel again for non-essential reasons, some families will be excluded from this based on their financial circumstances.

“We have been told since the pandemic began that children are the least susceptible to Covid-19, as their chances of either contracting or spreading the virus are very low. If this remains true, then there should be little risk in increasing the age limit to 12.

“I am asking Minister Donnelly, to engage with NPHET and request them to reconsider the current requirement and raise the age exemption for PCR testing upon arrival into Ireland to 12 years old,” concluded Senator Doherty.

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