Bottled decision on travel testing doesn’t go far enough – new policy is window dressing

06 January 2021
  • No date for PCR test requirement for passengers arriving from other red zones.
  • Asking arriving passengers from UK and South Africa to show clear tests up to 3 days old doesn’t go far enough.
  • Compulsory testing on arrival with rigorous follow up needed.

The new rules requiring PCR tests for arrivals from Britain and South Africa amounts to window dressing said Labour Transport spokesperson Duncan Smith, as it won’t isolate passengers using connecting flights into Ireland, and that for months the government have delayed and repeatedly bottled a decision on Covid-19 testing that would take place when people arrive into Ireland.

Deputy Smith said:
“What was announced today about PCR testing for passengers arriving from Britain and South Africa is window dressing and won’t address the public health concerns about new variants of Covid-19. If we are really serious about detecting Covid-19 then there should be testing of passengers on arrival and rigorous follow up to ensure people are quarantining until given the all clear.

“For months I have called for Covid testing at our airports and ferry terminals but once again the government have bottled the decision. No date has been provided for when the new requirement to have had a clear Covid-19 PCR test within 72 hours of arrival from a red zone country will come into force.

“Due to the Government’s inaction over many months, we have had a totally substandard approach that relies on private testing. We lost many months in which proper resources could have been trained and provided for this vital public health measure.

“What we heard today doesn’t go far enough. What is needed, and what I’ve repeatedly called for is testing on arrival of passengers along with rigorous follow up to ensure people self isolate and don’t develop Covid symptoms once in Ireland.

“Having testing in place at our airports and ferry terminals would give people a further level of confidence. It must now be delivered.”

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