Following today’s publication of NPHET’s latest letter to the Government, Róisín Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, has repeated her call for the implementation of stricter rules on international travel.

Deputy Shortall said:

“NPHET today, in its most severe warning to date, has made it very clear that the recent measures introduced by Government, which require a negative pre-departure test combined with advice on self-isolation, are entirely inadequate to sufficiently control the importation of the virus from abroad.

“There is now strong advice from our public health experts that it should no longer be up to the discretion of an incoming passenger whether to restrict their movements or take a post-arrival test. This amounts to a recommendation for a legally based and supervised self-isolation or mandatory quarantine for people arriving from overseas.

“The Government cannot continue to ignore the reality of the threats that face this country in relation to the ongoing high levels of the virus. In particular, I would urge the Taoiseach, the Minister for Transport and the Minister for Health to take very seriously the grave concerns of NPHET in respect of the new variants, the implications of which are as yet unknown. In recent weeks alone, approximately 37,000 people arrived into Ireland from the UK; 1,400 from South Africa; and 1,600 from Brazil. These are all locations with the prevalence of new variants.

“The Social Democrats have been consistently raising the question of restrictions on travel for many months, as have many in the medical and scientific community. In addition, recent polling shows there is overwhelming support from the public for these measures. Yet the Government has turned a blind eye to these concerns. The country cannot afford for the Government to continue to ignore this issue any longer.”

January 21, 2021

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