THE IRISH public have been warned not to take holidays abroad this year due to the continued threat of Covid-19.
Speaking to reporters at a health briefing on Tuesday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that international travel restrictions were likely to remain in place for much of 2021, and could even be extended into next year.
As such, he stressed that Government advice was to avoid non-essential international travel until the restrictions are lifted.
"The very strong advice from Government has been to avoid non-essential travel abroad," Varadkar said.
"The advice will most likely stay in place for the duration of the year, if not into next year."
Taoiseach Micheál Martin also told the Dáil on Wednesday that anyone found to be in breach of non-essential international travel restrictions could face fines of up to €2,000.
He argued that the current fine rate of €500 for non-essential international travel wasn't "sufficient", as around 60% of those coming into the country are returning from holidays.
"About 60% of those travelling are returned Irish holidaymakers. There is a sense that the €500 is not a sufficient disincentive to travel abroad. That will be increased," Martin said.
"The Government is considering increasing that to €2,000 to act as a sufficient deterrent to people travelling because all non-essential travel should be avoided," he added.