Tony Holohan tells Transport Committee that travel still poses a 'huge risk'

ireland
Tony Holohan Tells Transport Committee That Travel Still Poses A 'Huge Risk' Tony Holohan Tells Transport Committee That Travel Still Poses A 'Huge Risk'
Chief Medical Officer, Tony Holohan Photo: PA Images
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Digital Desk Staff

The Chief Medical Officer has told the Transport Committee today that people arriving into Ireland from abroad should avoid crowds and wear face coverings for a full 14 days, even if they come from a green lit area.

Dr Tony Holohan is currently facing questions on international travel ahead of the introduction of an EU traffic light system this weekend.

It terms of what the traffic light system means, green is for regions reporting less than 25 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, and test positivity is below per cent.

Orange is for regions reporting less than 50 new infections, and test positivity is over 4 per cent —  or the incidence is between 25 and 150 and test positivity is below 4 per cent.

Red is for regions with more than 50 new infections per 100,000 incidents, and test positivity is over 4 per cent — or the incidence is over 150 per 100,000 in the past 14 day.

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The meetings are the latest in a series of hearings to discuss the crisis in the aviation industry which has been devastated by Covid-19, and the air travel restrictions in place.

TDs and senators will hear from both Dr Holohan and Eamon Ryan, the transport minister, in relation to the proposed Europe-wide traffic light system.

Co-ordinated system

As the Irish Examiner reports, while the Government is keen to move to the co-ordinated system to allow travel recommence, the country’s medical advisers are clear they are not recommending any non-essential travel out of the country.

Dr Holohan said “If you look at the European context, if you look at the North American context, the scale of this virus is really quite worrying and I am being diplomatic when I say that."

"We are about mid-table in the list of European countries, and it is a rapidly deteriorating situation,” Dr Holohan said.

Explaining his concern, he also citied a recent report from the European Centre for Disease Control which said movement around Europe for any reason is seriously challenged.

While he said adopting the traffic-light system is a decision for the Government to make, Dr Holohan has said the risks around travel remain “very, very high”.

In recent days, Dr Holohan, as the chair of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), said he rejected recent criticism from the airlines who have argued the restrictions are not based on science.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fail TD for Clare, Cathal Crowe says rapid testing needs to be introduced at airports. "If it is a green light you can fly in and out, but orange and red countries you need to quarantine.

"The only way to get around this quarantine period is knowing that passengers coming in and out of Ireland are Covid free."

"You can only ensure that a plane is carrying Covid free people when you test them at the point of departure."

He said rapid testing needs to happen as soon as possible because in the last week Ryanair and Aer Lingus had to halt their flights both in Shannon and Cork airport.

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