Digital vaccine 'passports' could be used for pubs and restaurants, says Leo Varadkar

Digital vaccine 'passports' could be used for pubs and restaurants, says Leo Varadkar

LEO VARADKAR says members of the public may have to provide proof of a Covid-19 vaccination in order to dine indoors.

He suggested that something similar to the digital passport system used for international travel could be adopted, though nothing has been set in stone yet.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Varadkar said that using a "corona pass" system means the country might never have to lock down ever again.

The Tanáiste failed to disclose exactly how such a system would work, but said that by July 19, a more concrete plan surrounding the reopening of hospitality should have been developed.

Varadkar's words follow the Government's controversial announcement that only fully vaccinated individuals, or anyone who has recovered from Covid-19 in the last nine months, are to be allowed inside pubs and restaurants.

Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin revealed that Ireland's reopening plan was going to be delayed, in a crushing blow to the hospitality sector, which was gearing up for a full reopening on July 5.

On the advice of NPHET, the Government decided to maintain a cautious approach and chose to hold off on any major restrictions lifts, until the Delta variant is brought under control.

According to figures, the variant now makes up over half of the total cases in the country, and experts have warned that it become fully dominant by mid-July.

"That's one of the things that maybe isn't fully understood about the decision and advice from yesterday," Varadkar added.

"Option one is to not reopen indoors until we have herd immunity - and who really knows when that will be. We'd hoped it would be September, but maybe not.

"Now we have this option, to use a corona pass, and potentially never lock down again."