Immunology expert says Ireland needs to be ready for Covid-19 travel spikes

Non-essential travel is still advised against by the Government and Health authorities. Picture: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

A 'green list' of countries with unrestricted travel access to Ireland could be published next Thursday.

A final decision on air bridges is being made by a Cabinet sub-committee tomorrow, before being approved by Ministers on Monday.

People could travel to countries on this list, without a 14-day quarantine on their return, but the National Public Health Emergency Team's concerned it could lead to more Covid-19 cases being re-imported.

Professor Luke O’Neill from the school of Immunology at Trinity College Dublin says we need to be prepared for spikes in travel-related cases. 

Professor O'Neill says: "Even the famous 'green' countries, that's a good idea of course,

"And we have sympathy for the airlines with the airlines of course we do, but this 'green' country [Ireland] is a good one, but we have got to be ready for that [Covid-19 clusters],

"The timing has to be right for these things to happen or otherwise,

There will definitely be spikes coming into Ireland with all kinds of consequences.

Earlier, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said a ‘green list’ of countries for travel - to be published on July 9 - may only allow people fly at a later date.

The Government continues to advise against all non-essential travel.

Speaking at a launch of €6.5m in online support grants for 183 businesses, Mr Varadkar said: “That is still the plan [to publish on July 9] to publish a greenest or shortlist of countries, which you can travel to without the 14-day quarantine.

“But we do have a new government. And in fairness to the new government and to the new Taoiseach, the new minister of health, they're going to want to study matters and bring proposals to a Cabinet sub-committee this week.”