Advice 'has been very clear' - don't book a foreign holiday, officials urge

File photo.

The chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group for the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has urged the public to give careful consideration before travelling abroad.

Travel carries a risk of transmitting the Covid-19 virus back into Ireland, Professor Philip Nolan told Newstalk Breakfast.

He, personally, had not booked a holiday abroad because the advice to him as a citizen from the government, had been not to do so.

“Unfortunately, in some other countries the level of the virus is higher than it is here - and in some other countries it's rising.”

If the virus was brought back into the country it could be “a very significant burden on the public health system, the hospital system, and a very grave risk to people in our society who are vulnerable,” he warned.

Prof Nolan said the "very firm" government advice at present is to avoid all non-essential travel, and that he was reiterating that advice.

The focus should initially be on who needs to travel as restrictions are eased.

We should think about this issue of luxury versus necessity.

"If travel carries a risk of transmitting the virus back into Ireland or from Ireland into another low prevalence country, then we really need to think about this year, 2020, whether we really need to do that.”

People considering travelling for luxury should think twice if it was worth the risk, he said, particularly if it was worth the risk to others.

“It's not really for me to advise people on the commercial transaction of booking a holiday or not booking a holiday. I haven't done it - the advice to me as a citizen from the government has been very clear.”