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Holohan warns against booking holidays despite move by airlines

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Dr Tony Holohan: ‘We are advising against all non-essential travel’. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA Wire

Dr Tony Holohan: ‘We are advising against all non-essential travel’. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA Wire

Dr Tony Holohan: ‘We are advising against all non-essential travel’. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA Wire

People should not book summer trips abroad this July despite plans by airlines to resume some flight schedules, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan warned.

He put a dampener on any non-essential summer getaways and said the country is not ready to go on holiday.

Dr Holohan was questioned after Ryanair announced it will restart 40pc of its normal flight schedule from July 1.

He replied he would not comment on Ryanair, but said: "We are advising against all non-essential travel.

@I don't envisage the position to have changed in that time-frame."

Airline travel outside Ireland involves social distancing and that remains a challenge.

"We don't want to see people coming here for non-essential reasons and leaving for non-essential reasons," he added.

Airlines had been very co-operative, he said, and he would like them to continue to help the public health fight against the virus.

He was speaking as 107 new cases of the virus were diagnosed yesterday - the lowest daily total in many weeks, boosting the prospects that the first phase of the exit from lockdown can start next week.

However, another 24 people were reported to have died from the infection - bringing the death toll to 1,488.

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He said he hoped more progress would be made by the end of the week and there continued to be significant numbers of patients in hospital, including intensive care.

It's unclear when there will be a vaccine available, and enough global supply.

It will not be possible to depress the economy and social levels for long and extended periods of time, he conceded.

So Ireland and the rest of the world collectively needs to "re-engineer society, workplace and social activity" to minimise the risk of transmission.

He said workplaces will find ways of adapting, limiting the extent to which people come together.

Dr Colm Henry of the HSE, who was asked about delays in virus testing and contact tracing, said the time to get a result is now averaging five days and the aim is to bring this down to four, then three days.

Experts have warned it is still too slow as Ireland emerges from lockdown and they warned the HSE needs to ensure strict surveillance of the virus to pick up any increase in cases.

He said once a person is diagnosed as positive, tracing their contacts in straightforward cases can be done on the same day.

However, it can take longer if it is more complex where there may be language barriers or other difficulties.

The system for communicating negative results will be automated by early next week which means people will get the information faster, he added.

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland


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