Kelly welcomes commitment from Tánaiste to consider a national aggressive suppression strategy

28 January 2021
  • Tánaiste says it is intention to expand mandatory hotel quarantine as capacity and capability improves.

Questioning the Tánaiste about Labour’s call for a national aggressive suppression strategy (NASS), Labour Leader Alan Kelly welcomed the positive engagement from the government to debate the pros and cons of the detail of such a strategy but urged them to go further on mandatory hotel quarantine, travel and testing.

Deputy Kelly said:

“We need to see a coherent strategy from the government on how they will aggressively suppress Covid-19 over the coming months. Without a National Aggressive Suppression Strategy (NASS) as we have called for, or many of the tenets of zero covid, we won’t get back to some normalcy. The vaccine will not be the panacea for 2021 that we thought it would be.

“We need to work on suppressing the virus. The Taoiseach has spoken of a prolonged suppression strategy. What I want to know is what the difference is between what the government is planning long term and what many of us in the opposition are calling for.

“I believe the government are travelling on the road to be where we are now. They’ve gone some way on mandatory hotel quarantine and airport arrivals, so I am asking them to now seriously consider going further. No one has all the answers.

“The public are ahead of us on this, they want to see us suppress this virus with mandatory hotel quarantine and checks close to the border. The report on Primetime was the straw that broke the camels back, seeing flights coming in with lots of people returning from holidays.

“The current half backed strategy is not enough. With a NASS in place, we then need to focus in on where the virus is in the community, and panzer like, focus in on it with test, trace and isolate. When we get the numbers down, we need to keep it down.

“The Tánaiste did say there needed to a be a debate, on the practicalities and detailed pros and cons of our future strategy so I welcome that engagement and approach. He didn’t rule out further changes to mandatory hotel quarantine, and said it was their intention to further expand it as their capability and capacity improves so that it applies more widely.

“The government have taken on our proposals on rapid antigen testing, and checks 5km from the border, but I would urge again for further action and to come with us towards a more aggressive suppression strategy.”

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