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US military at Shannon exempt from PCR requirement

US military personnel who fly through Shannon Airport will not be required to have a pre-departure ‘not detected’ PCR test before travelling to this country, the Department of Transport has told the Medical Independent (MI).

Earlier this month, the Government announced a further extension of the requirement for a pre-departure ‘not detected’ PCR test for passenger arrivals from all countries from Saturday 16 January. The test must be taken within 72 hours prior to arrival.

The Government said exceptions would be limited to those already exempt from this requirement, which are international transport workers including hauliers, pilots and aviation crew, masters and maritime crew, and members of An Garda Síochána in the course of their duties. Children under six are also exempt.

A Department spokesperson told MI this exemption extends to US troops travelling through Shannon Airport as they are regarded as in-transit.
“All military flights are transiting Shannon Airport and do not leave the environs of the terminal,” the Department spokesperson told MI.

“US personnel are in-transit and therefore would not fall under the testing requirement as ‘transits’ are exempt.”

Last month it was widely reported that just under 66,000 US troops passed through Shannon Airport in the first 10 months of 2020. Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney told the Dáil in November that the use of Shannon Airport by the US military was “a long-standing practice, which has been in place for over 50 years”.

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