Criticising the absence of a coherent Government strategy on tackling the potential importation of coronavirus, Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD called on the Taoiseach to follow the advice of NPHET and deal comprehensively with inward travel.
Speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil, Róisín Shortall TD said:
“The Taoiseach has not dispelled the huge confusion among the public about international travel. The promised announcement of a green list for countries regarded as safe, while at the same time advising against all non-essential travel, is inherently contradictory.
“But of much more concern is the Government’s ambiguity about travel from countries not on the green list; those countries regarded as unsafe due to a high prevalence of the virus. Not only has the Government operated a self-isolate policy which has been largely unenforceable, but inexplicably in the past couple of weeks, the travel advice has actually been weakened for those countries.
“Incoming travellers are now advised to merely restrict their movements. This poses a huge risk to our health, the lives of our vulnerable and to our economy.”
“The priority must be to reopen our schools and to get our domestic economy fully operating. Controlling inward travel would allow us to do that. Best practice in other countries is to require either mandatory quarantining on arrival or a double test regime, both of which safeguard against the virus getting into a country.
“The clear written advice from NPHET to the Government on 14th July was to use all measures to ‘minimise and discourage non-essential travel from overseas to Ireland’.
“Delaying Phase 4 is not a strategy. We urgently need the Government to develop and implement a coherent and comprehensive strategy that seeks to suppressing the virus here, limits the importation of the virus and do what’s right by the country.”
July 21, 2020
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Quotes from NPHET letter of 14.7.2020
“The NPHET today noted that 12% of cases notified over the past fortnight have been associated with travel. Importantly the NPHET also took note of cases where travel-related transmission has been linked to further clusters within private households or within extended family units.”
“In light of the deteriorating pandemic situation globally, the significant risk of imported COVID-19 cases to Ireland from overseas and the current overall health risk, the NPHET has significant and growing concerns regarding the potential for travel related introduction of the disease to increase the risk of a potential second-wave of the disease in Ireland. Consequently-
- The NPHET continues to advise Irish residents against non-essential travel outside of Ireland at this time;
- The NPHET recommends that all measures are utilised to minimise and discourage non-essential travel from overseas to Ireland.”