'Perfect storm' of tourists and pubs threaten Covid-19 progress warns Trinity Prof

Politicians, health workers and members of the public have expressed concerns about social distancing protocols being abided by people drinking outside and inside pubs. Picture: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

The reopening of pubs and unrestricted travel from the US presents a perfect storm for a surge in Covid-19 cases according to one Irish scientist. 

Tomas Ryan, Associate Professor at Trinity's School of Biochemistry and Immunology, says they could crush Ireland's efforts to stop the virus spreading. 

Professor Ryan says: "Right now we are engineering a perfect storm. With the combination of unrestricted effective travel from the USA with pubs opening, 

"The tourists are the arrows and then the pubs are the bows that are going to send them flying. 

"If you are getting a lot of tourists into pubs, this is where everything is going to fall down. 

"And the lockdown will have been for nothing so we need to get serious about this."

The government has resisted calls to ban international travel so far. 

Speaking this evening at a government press conference, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said visitors should not come into Ireland unless they restrict their movements for 14 days.

Mr Coveney said the Government is still warning against all non-essential travel, but that a green list of countries – where it will be safe to fly to and from – will be published by the Government next week.

The Government will also introduce new measures to strengthen self-isolating by people who come to Ireland from abroad.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said anyone thinking of a trip to Ireland that does not include staying in place for the first 14 days breaks health guidelines related to the passenger locator form. 

Under current guidelines, anyone found to have wrongly filled out the form is liable to be fined up to €2,500 or imprisoned for up to six months.

Mr Donnelly said: "What matters to us is compliance with the public health guidelines. We will be announcing next Monday a 'green list.'

"We will also be announcing additional measures at the ports of entry and exit to maximise compliance with those guidelines."