Half-baked travel proposals show need for a National Aggressive Suppression Strategy for Covid-19

26 January 2021

Today’s new regulations on travel and quarantine do not go far enough said Labour Party Leader and Health spokesperson Alan Kelly, as he called for an ambitious and aggressive strategy to deal with Covid-19.

Deputy Kelly said:
“I am calling for a national aggressive suppression strategy (NASS) that would eradicate community transmission of Covid-19 and ensure we have the right measures in place to contain the virus.

“The proposals from the government today are half-baked, and will confuse the situation more. It was a missed opportunity to once and for all set out a strategy to suppress and contain the virus.

“What we needed was a strong message from the government that it will once and for all act, instead of more short term responses, and stop gap proposals.

“As part of NASS the Labour Party wants mandatory hotel quarantine for those arriving into Ireland, PCR testing at arrivals, and then follow up at 5 days, alongside police checks at our airports and ports. I’ve also called for travel checks 5km from the border in the absence of an agreed all island approach.

“I also want the government to carry out a survey of employers with 20 or more employees, to ensure all workers who can, are working from home.

“As part of an effort to suppress community transmission I am calling again for the rollout of rapid antigen testing in the community, and serial PCR testing in our healthcare facilities. If we get case numbers down to double digits and eradicate community transmission, we can use aggressive testing and tracing to keep it under control.

“Today’s proposals raise more questions about the government’s plans as we have no detail on what specific legislation will be proposed, when it will be passed, and when the new travel and quarantine rules will come into force.

“The government have had 10 months to address this. I do welcome that they have adopted my call for checks 5km from the border but why has it taken so long? The Labour Party have flagged these issues for months, and we want a national aggressive suppression strategy. There can be no more excuses.”

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