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Better the Icelandic route than 'air bridges' linking us to wrong hotspots

Colm McCarthy


Relaxing flight restrictions risks the outbreak of a second wave of the virus when we could take an insular approach, writes Colm McCarthy

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'Iceland welcomes visitors but tests on arrival (sets you back €100), requires self-isolation for a day in a hotel where the result is delivered, and quarantine is compulsory if the test is positive.'

'Iceland welcomes visitors but tests on arrival (sets you back €100), requires self-isolation for a day in a hotel where the result is delivered, and quarantine is compulsory if the test is positive.'

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'Iceland welcomes visitors but tests on arrival (sets you back €100), requires self-isolation for a day in a hotel where the result is delivered, and quarantine is compulsory if the test is positive.'

New worldwide cases of the Covid-19 infection have yet to peak. The situation in Europe is mixed - most countries are reporting declines in both cases and fatalities but there have been several renewed outbreaks, including some in Nordrhein-Westfalen in Germany and around the Portuguese city of Lisbon. Cases and fatalities have been on a falling trend in the Republic and in Northern Ireland. The figures have been comparable in both parts of Ireland and less severe than in England.

At last Friday's press conference, the Department of Health reported that incoming travellers have again become a source of new cases, on the same day that Aer Lingus released a statement urging the new government to ease up on flight restrictions. There is currently a 14-day self-quarantine requirement for incoming passengers but without effective enforcement: crucially there are very few flights, but the airlines are keen to get the peak summer season finally under way. At this time of year, Dublin Airport would expect about 110,000 passengers every day but handled just 46,000 in all of May.

The Government plans to de-restrict through an EU-inspired scheme of 'air bridges' between a selected, but unspecified, group of European countries from July 9. Aer Lingus, most of whose fleet is based at Dublin, had this to say: "The level of success in containing and controlling the spread of Covid-19 in European countries is equivalent to Ireland's success. That is the case now... and it should not take two more weeks to assess this". Clearly this Irish policy decision affects Aer Lingus more than Ryanair, most of whose business is outside Ireland.