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Popular holiday spots may not qualify for 'green list' due to high coronavirus rates

Portugal, Spain, Italy and France would be no-go

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'Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said several countries that are holiday favourites would not make it to the list.' (stock image)

'Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said several countries that are holiday favourites would not make it to the list.' (stock image)

'Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said several countries that are holiday favourites would not make it to the list.' (stock image)

Countries popular with Irish holidaymakers - including France, Italy, Spain and Portugal - would not qualify at this stage for inclusion in the "green list" for a summer getaway because of their higher levels of Covid-19.

The most likely countries to make it to the list are Greece, Slovenia, Finland, Latvia, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary and Lithuania.

It follows the Government decision to open up "air bridges" from July 9 with other European countries where rates of the coronavirus are low and allow tourists from both countries freedom from a 14-day quarantine, including when they return home.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said several countries that are holiday favourites would not make it to the list if the decision was made today because of the 14-day incidence of the virus there.

He also said the list of destinations will not be drawn up until very near July 9 because of the dynamic situation involving outbreaks which can change the country's rate of virus in days.

"This is a dynamic and changing situation and for anyone making holiday plans a week or two weeks makes a big difference in the transmission of this virus," he said.

It means people here who are trying to book a holiday abroad will be left with little time to do so if they want to get a good deal.

In order to make the list the other countries will need an incidence of Covid-19 which is similar or lower to here and it must also be falling. The figures must also be verifiable, he added.

Dr Holohan made it clear the Government decision to allow for air corridors which heightens the risk of virus being "imported" here from abroad was a major concern.

Asked about his reaction to more air travel he said he is "beyond nervous".

Many of those who will holiday abroad are also in younger age groups and are a concern due to the number of new cases of the virus emerging among them here.

As of now people are still urged not to undertake non-essential travel abroad and the risk of infection is not only in the holiday destination but also in airports, he added.

The preference is for people to holiday at home which he himself intends to do, he added.

He was speaking as three more deaths from the virus were announced bringing the toll to 1,730.

A further 11 new cases of the virus were diagnosed, leaving a total of 25,414 so far.

Ireland's recent success in driving down the virus has been among the best in the EU.

There remains major anxiety about a surge in cases as the country enters its most ambitious post-lockdown phase from Monday as pubs, restaurants and hairdressers reopen.

Prof Philip Nolan of Maynooth University, whose team is tracking the spread of the virus, said all indicators are either stable or continuing to decline with an average of nine confirmed cases a day in the week to last Wednesday.

This compared to 15 to 20 in previous weeks.

The number of people in hospital has fallen from 40 to 24 and patients in intensive care also down to 14 from 24. There is now an average of two deaths a day.

However, he said there remained two trends which are sources of unease.

These include the number of cases of the virus in the 20-39 year age group and also the small but significant increase in cases of the virus which were diagnosed here among people who were abroad and brought it back.

Meanwhile, the new tracing app will be able to accurately detect around 72pc of the close contacts of somebody who tests positive for Covid-19, the HSE said.

The app will alert the user if they have been in contact with somebody who tests positive for the virus.

Results from its testing programme have shown the app was able to accurately detect 72pc of close contacts using the Google Apple API.

Tracing

The HSE said 82pc of people indicated they are willing to download a contact tracing app to their smartphone to curb the pandemic.

It will be known as the Covid Tracker App and can be downloaded for free.

All personal data that is processed is kept to an absolute minimum.

"Users can choose to delete the app at any time and have full control over what information they share through the app," the HSE said. "Further, a governance commitment is in place to dismantle the operation of the app once the Covid-19 crisis is over."

A HSE spokeswoman said: "The app is an important part of the whole of government response to Covid-19. We have provided all the required information through the Department of Health to enable government to make an informed decision on the next steps.

"The app has passed through the Apple and Google review process. Its launch is subject to government approval."

Peter Mark hairdressing salons, which open next week, said every second chair will be left free to allow for a two-metre gap between clients.

The waiting area will have limited availability, and clients will be brought straight to the salon chair when possible.

No personal greetings such as handshakes or hugs will be permitted.

Irish Independent


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