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Fears international travel could lead to 'big second wave' of coronavirus - Health Minister

'The current advice is against all non essential overseas travel'

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Stephen Donnelly

Stephen Donnelly

Stephen Donnelly

There are fears foreign travel could lead to a 'very serious spike' of Covid-19 in Ireland, new Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said - as he admits clarification on advice must be clarified quickly.

A recommendation on the advice will be brought before Cabinet on Monday following a discussion by Nphet today and at a Cabinet sub-committee meeting tomorrow.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Mr Donnelly said that the government is working “very urgently” to clarify travel advice.

“We are looking at this very carefully and very urgently,” he said.

“Nphet are discussing it today, I’ll be sitting down with the chief medical officer after that and there’s a Cabinet sub committee on tomorrow and a recommendation will be brought for discussion at Cabinet on Monday.

“We are taking it very, very seriously and if there is confusion it needs to be cleared up."

He said that a surge in travel abroad would lead to a second wave and additionally put pressure on healthcare spending.

“What the CMO has continuously expressed and reiterated again this week is a very serious concern for a second wave of Covid if there is a big increase in foreign travel.

“The public health advice has remained absolutely steady on this.

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“The current advice is against all non essential overseas travel.”

“The CMO is concerned that a lot of foreign travel could lead to a very serious spike and potentially a big second wave. Were that to happen, it would have huge consequences for spending in healthcare obviously,” he added.

Speaking on legalised quarantines, which have been suggested by Roisin Shorthall TD and would apply to people who travel outside of approved ‘green routes’. Per Deputy Shorthall’s suggestion, those people will be mandated to quarantine in hotels nearby airports upon their return.

“Let’s not jump the gun, no decision has been made on what restrictions may or may not be relaxed,” said Mr Donnelly.

“I don’t believe that would be necessary, I don’t believe it would be likely.”


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