Dr Tony Holohan concerned over Covid-19 travel clusters

Dr Tony Holohan pictured this evening at a Covid-19 press conference at the Department of Health. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
By Conall Ó Fátharta
Irish Examiner Reporter

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has expressed concern over a "worrying trend" of rising Covid-19 cases and travel-related clusters.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has confirmed that, although there have been no further Covid-19 deaths, there were 24 additional cases in the previous 24 hours. 

At least six of these new cases are associated with international travel. NPHET is now testing the contacts of these cases and warns that there may be further associated cases in the coming days.

Amid concerns about travel-linked instances of new Covid-19 diagnoses, Dr Holohan said he is "very concerned" about new cases being imported from abroad and pointed out that there has been a new travel-related cluster in the north west of the country as a result of people returning to Ireland from Iraq: 

Many of the places that would be usual destinations for all of us in the summer time are having ongoing challenges with this infection. That will lead to further infection  being reimported to this country and, for that reason, we are genuinely very concerned about that. We would like people not to travel.

The chief medical officer also expressed concern that the number of contacts for some of the people recently diagnosed with Covid-19 has been "quite large" and that authorities have had to test in excess of 20 people in some instances in relation to individual cases: "That's a very different situation to back in April where there was a much larger number of cases but the average number of contacts for each of the cases that we were picking up was two to three."

"It would have been very unusual to pick up a single case with more than 20 contacts unless there was something very unusual about it but we are starting to see some of those kinds of patterns," he said.

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