Overseas travel and incoming visitors not worth the risk - Donegal TD calls for tougher action

"We need the government to have some guts"


Leaving our borders open could lead to a spike in Covid-19 cases

There are serious concerns that overseas travel will lead to a new spike in Covid-19.

In particular, reports of plane loads of visitors from Texas which is still in the throes of the crisis have caused much alarm. And with the virus transmission rate rising as lockdown restrictions ease, healthcare experts are calling for stricter quarantine regulations to be imposed immediately.

Deputy Thomas Pringle TD has been watching the situation with growing concern.

“I have been thinking a lot about this,” he told the Donegal Post. “It is very worrying after we have all done so much to deal with the virus to now see airports open and people coming in from America and other places. 

“I think we have to shut down the airports to people coming from America and places where the virus is still a big problem. To have flights coming in from Texas and places like that is a worry. We need to be acting on that, and for that to happen we need the government to have some guts.”

Deputy Pringle is very much aware of the need for balance between opening up the economy and restricting the virus spread.

“There is an element of ‘We have to reopen,’” he said. “But you have to be prepared for it and we have to do it right. Certain sectors are going to be put at risk. It is going to cause hardship, but if the virus starts to spread again that will cause even more hardship and it will last longer. 

“Closing the airports is something that we can do. But I think the government is afraid to make a decision; afraid of being financially liable for losing out. If that is why they are making the decision, it is wrong.”

Deputy Pringle is also calling on people to take responsibility for their own actions in the interests of the wider community.

“There is a tendency to look for someone to blame but we all need to play our part,” he said. “I would like to see a strong emphasis on asking Irish people not to travel abroad. 

“We have about 60% of people behaving properly and sticking to the restrictions. But there are still people who are misbehaving and are currently being protected by those who are doing things right. We all need to behave responsibly to tackle this virus.”

Latest figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) show that there have been 165 confirmed cases over the 14 days prior to midnight on July 12. Of those cases, 12% were classed as travel related and 74% were under 45 years of age.

There have been 1,746 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland to date, and more than 25,000 confirmed cases.

Huge effort has gone into getting the transmission rate under control. It has come at a high price, with some businesses not in a position to reopen and others facing a very bleak future. 

The current advice is to avoid all unnecessary overseas travel, and for all people coming into the country to restrict their movements for 14 days. It is expected that as of Monday, there will be legislative power to enforce quarantine. 

Worryingly, some people are choosing to travel to and from the country through Northern Ireland airports, thus avoiding quarantine.

Everybody needs to work together and remember that we are fighting a deadly, incurable virus. Foreign holidays should not be a priority. Furthermore, holidaying in Ireland will support the tourism and hospitality sectors, thus protecting jobs and helping with the economic recovery.

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