A World Health Organisation (WHO) expert has raised the hopes of holidaymakers with a surprise prediction that travel will be possible across Europe this summer.
— Sean Murphy
Dr David Nabarro, who is a special COVID-19 envoy at the WHO, also claimed trips could happen without vaccination passports.
He advised sun-seekers to wait “a few more weeks” before making travel plans to go Euro-hopping.
His shock prediction is in stark contrast to senior Government figures like Tanaiste Leo Varadkar who has warned summer holidays are “off the agenda”.
Dr Nabarro said: “I think for the time being it will by bi-lateral discussions between countries that indicate whether travel corridors will be opened up.”
He added: “My hope is that we will be able to get protocols that apply to the whole of Europe.
“Wait a little bit before making all your holiday plans.
“In a few weeks, there will be much more clarity on the arrangements for how travel during the summer months are going to be.”
“I’m hopeful that there will be more opportunities for travel within the European Union this summer that go beyond just bi-lateral arrangements between countries,” he said on RTE Radio One’s Claire Byrne Show.
“I’m hopeful that there will be more opportunities for travel in the coming months [compared] to what we see right now.”
Dr Nabarro hopes to travel from his home in France to visit a new grandchild in the UK, even without being vaccinated and without a vaccination cert.
“It should be possible, but who knows? I can’t put my money on it.” he said.
Dr Nabarro previously told the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs: “This pandemic is nowhere near finished. I want to repeat, this is nowhere near the end.
“Some people say, well there’s light at the end of the tunnel. But from my point of view, I’m not sure how far that light is away.”
It comes as a further 29 people who had tested positive for coronavirus died with another 776 confirmed cases of COVID-19 was also announced yesterday.
There are currently 574 Covid-positive patients in hospital, of whom 136 are in intensive care.
As of February 23, 373,280 doses of the coronavirus vaccine had been administered in Ireland, this includes 238,841 first doses and 134,439 second doses.
Meanwhile, the boss of the Health Service Executive said staff are working “night and day” to ensure mass vaccination centres are ready for the surge in vaccine supplies.
Paul Reid said there are currently 6,500 people trained in the programme.
A national recruitment campaign is currently under way to bring in more staff ahead of a significant ramp-up in vaccines.
The HSE chief executive said the rollout is based on supply, and that every vaccine is being delivered.
Around 100,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines are expected to be delivered this week — its highest to date.
The Department of Health said that plans are being put in place to vaccinate one million people a month from April.