‘We are not out of the woods’: Government renews Christmas travel warning

ireland
‘We Are Not Out Of The Woods’: Government Renews Christmas Travel Warning
The Government is projecting the number of people travelling home will be significantly lower than last year. Photo: AP/Press Association Images.
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By Digital Desk Staff

The Government has renewed its appeal for Irish people living abroad to skip a return home for Christmas this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those still considering travelling to the island for the festive period should only do so if it is absolutely essential, the Irish Examiner reports a government spokeswoman said on Monday.

The Government is projecting the number of people travelling home will be significantly lower than last year, however, it has urged those planning a visit to reconsider their journey.

“We are not out of the woods yet. We are asking most people who can to skip this year and come next year instead,” Elizabeth Canavan from the Department of the Taoiseach said.

“Looking at the travel projections for the Christmas period, we expect air passengers numbers to be about 90 per cent down on last year’s figures, and ferry passenger numbers to be about 60 per cent down,” she added.

'Normal visit'

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Ireland currently has the second lowest 14-day rate of Covid-19 infection in Europe, as Ms Canavan acknowledged avoiding travel would be a great sacrifice for families.

She warned it would not be “a normal visit” for those who choose to return, urging travellers to adhere to the guidance set out in the EU traffic-light system.

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Ms Canavan said anyone arriving from an area designated red under the system should restrict their movement on arrival and apply for a PCR test after five days in the country - with a negative result allowing their 14-day quarantine to be cut short.

Other tests with a fast turnaround time are available, but Ms Canavan said that government advice is focused on the gold-standard PCR tests.

Most of Europe is currently marked red under the system, while countries outside of Europe such as the United States, Canada and the United Arab Emirates are also considered to be red zones.

Ms Canavan advised anyone arriving for just one week to follow all restrictions during that time, including not meeting anyone from outside the household they are visiting.

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