The Government’s publication of a green list of countries last night has done nothing to clear up widespread public confusion on the issue of foreign travel, according to Róisín Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats.
Deputy Shortall said:
“It has now emerged there were conflicting views within the Cabinet about the merit of publishing a green list when the clear advice from NPHET has been to avoid all non-essential travel – this is the only message that really matters.
“We are told that the passenger locator form for people travelling to Ireland is moving online to improve accuracy and a call centre is being set up. However, I fail to see how this will improve traceability if people simply refuse to answer their phones when contacted, as has been the case.
“The Government says it also intends to look at countries with high levels of Covid-19 infections in the coming weeks to determine if further restrictions on international travel should be introduced. Why are we not doing this now?
“There is talk of carrying out Covid-19 tests at our airports but no specific details about how this will work or if the resources are in place to do this. This paralysis in decision making cannot continue.
“There are other issues, too. The green list does not account for people taking connecting flights through countries with high rates of infection before travelling on to Ireland. There is also confusion as to the difference between ‘taking normal precautions’ and ‘restricting your movements’. We need clear, unambiguous messages from the Government if we are to avoid a second wave of this virus.
“Unless we get it right by introducing clear restrictions on foreign travel, we could see months of progress by the Irish public undone, with lasting implications for our economy. It could also delay the safe reopening of our schools in the autumn which has to be a key priority.”
July 22, 2020