A number of Irish tourists have been sent to mandatory hotel quarantine after arriving in Malta, because their HSE vaccine certs were not considered valid proof of vaccination status.
lthough entitled to them, many people did not receive their Digital Covid Certificates (DCC) in time for the first day of the resumption of international travel on Monday.
Minister of State Ossian Smyth assured travellers that alternative proof of vaccination status would be accepted in place of a DCC.
“If you can show evidence that you’ve been vaccinated, or that you’ve been tested, you can still travel,” he said this week.
However, when several passengers alighted from Ryanair flight FR7242 in the Maltese capital of Valletta at midnight on Monday night, authorities there said differently.
One holidaymaker described how he received his own DCC showing he was fully vaccinated, but his girlfriend’s did not arrive on time before they were set to travel, despite her having been fully vaccinated three weeks ago.
The couple decided to travel regardless, on the advice of Irish authorities, with a HSE vaccine card and a backup negative PCR test.
When they arrived in Malta, they were told these documents weren’t valid, and they needed a DCC proving vaccination status.
Ireland, along with most EU countries using the Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) system, allows quarantine free entry for those who are fully vaccinated, who have recently recovered from Covid-19, or can produce a negative test.
Maltese entry requirements are stricter than Ireland, requiring that people must be full vaccinated to avoid mandatory hotel quarantine.
A number of other Irish passengers found themselves in a similar position, facing mandatory hotel quarantine unless they receive their DCC’s or book a flight home.
The next return flight from Malta to Dublin is not until Thursday.
The DCC helpline was overwhelmed when it launched earlier this week, and although additional resources have been put in place, people are still reporting lengthy wait times and issues getting through.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has said they are aware of the situation and are liaising with the relevant authorities in Malta.
The Department stands ready to provide consular assistance to Irish citizens upon request, but would not comment on the details of any specific case.
The DFA has advised travellers to check what restrictions are in place in their destination country before departure, using the ReOpen EU website.
The advice page for people travelling to Malta from Ireland was last updated yesterday, and states that people can travel to Malta if they are fully vaccinated and have a vaccination certificate that is recognised by Malta’s Superintendent of Public Health.
It lists the DCC as acceptable, along with vaccination certs from the UK, UAE, Turkey and US.
Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland