Co-leader of the Social Democrats, Róisín Shortall TD, has called on the Government to clarify if international travel has been factored into modelling for a potential increase in Covid-19 infection levels over the Christmas period.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy Shortall said:

“In recent days the Government has announced changes to the international travel regime and these proposals need clarification.

“In the event of large numbers of people travelling to Ireland and needing to take a test after five days, presumably a significant number of them will test positive. We need to know if there is adequate capacity in the tracing system to be able to respond to an inevitable spike in positive results.

“In addition, will there be a requirement for double testing in the event of a person receiving an initial negative result? The public health advice has been that this is what is required to ensure that a person does not have the virus.

“We also need to know if there will be adequate oversight of the new arrangements for people travelling here from red or orange countries.

“Has increased international travel at Christmas been factored into the modelling for a potential spike in virus figures? The last thing that the public and business community want is to be facing into a third lockdown in January.

“We all fully appreciate the importance of Christmas for families, particularly where relatives living abroad have not been able to return home this year. The next few weeks are also crucial for businesses.

“However, it is important we don’t engage in short-term thinking and that the Government considers the time horizon that some of these decisions have to be taken in. It must remain an absolute priority to keep the downward pressure on the virus numbers.”

November 12, 2020

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