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21st Jun 2021

WHO says Ireland should listen to “cool guy” Dr Tony Holohan and avoid unnecessary travel abroad

Clara Kelly

NPHET meeting

“Tony Holohan is such a cool guy, I like the way he and his team are working.”

Ireland should follow the “solid” advice of “cool guy” Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan on international travel, the World Health Organisation (WHO) special envoy on Covid-19 Dr David Nabarro has said.

Dr Nabarro said the public should “follow the leaders” with regard to public health issues such as travel adding that Ireland is “pretty well served from the advice that comes through.”

“For now I would follow the solid advice of Dr Holohan and be quite careful about travel,” Dr Nabarro told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne on Monday.

“Tony Holohan is such a cool guy, I like the way he and his team and then all of the people at county level are working,” he added.

Dr Nabarro also urged people to be careful with using the word “safe” when describing international travel, stressing the importance of keeping risks low.

“We will never be in a situation where we can guarantee that travel is without risk of somebody getting infected with Covid-19 or indeed having some other health outcome,” he continued.

“But, we’re talking about processes for reducing the risk, and I think having what we’re calling the Digital Covid Certificate is going to make a huge improvement in this.”

It comes after Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said young people who are not fully vaccinated can travel abroad from July with the Digital Covid Certificate if they get a PCR test before returning, despite Dr Holohan’s advice to avoid unnecessary overseas travel.

Varadkar told RTÉ’s The Week in Politics on Sunday that the advice from the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan is “very clear” that people who aren’t fully vaccinated should not travel internationally as of yet.

However, he added that the Government will be putting in place different guidelines surrounding travel due to “wider considerations”.

“I totally understand why he is putting forward that advice… But because we are the Government we have to take wider considerations into account and that is why the Government advice. The law we are putting into place is actually different to the CMO’s advice,” he said.

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