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09th Dec 2020

Leo Varadkar talks festivals, matches, and holidays returning for Summer 2021

Rory Cashin

Travel experts have warned that 2021 tourism could be in trouble unless the vaccine is rolled out very quickly.

It has been just one day since the first person on the island of Ireland received the COVID vaccine outside of clinical trials, but already the country is anticipating the rollout of the vaccine to the entire population.

The Government has published a list of 15 provisional vaccine allocation groups, but an exact timeline is still a little uncertain, which is something that Leo Varadkar discussed today during an interview.

Speaking with Newstalk Breakfast this morning, the Tánaiste had the following to say:

“With the vaccine, with mass testing and with the knowledge of how to prevent and treat this virus, I think the pandemic will end in 2021. We really have to be giving the vaccine for about two months before you really see it really make a difference, it’s a two-dose vaccine.

“I think we’re talking about something like late-March or early April, around Easter, and that doesn’t mean things will be back to normal by then, we’ll be more in the level one or level two space by then. If things work out with the summer, there’s the possibility of returning to things like football matches and maybe even concerts and festivals and gatherings too. It’s far from guaranteed, but that’s the kind of timeline we’re looking at.”

When asked about the potential for travel in 2021, Varadkar responded: “Oh I hope so, I’m starting to look very pale.”

Earlier this week, Trinity Professor Aoife McLysaght stated that unless the vaccine is rolled out very quickly, international travel in 2021 might not be a reality, and travel expert Eoghan Corry told Newstalk the following:

“I do agree with her that the vaccine programme will have to move very, very quickly. If it is not out there in scale by Easter, I think we will be looking at serious problems. The entire 2021 tourism season could be in trouble.”

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