State to keep travel re­stric­tions and quar­an­tine reg­u­la­tions in place

Fears that resur­gence of Covid-19 in other coun­tries could see it im­ported into Ire­land Of­fi­cial ad­vice not to travel abroad likely to re­main in place un­til at least July 20th

The Irish Times - - Front Page - PAT LEAHY, JEN­NIFER BRAY and PAUL CULLEN

Travel re­stric­tions, in­clud­ing quar­an­tine re­quire­ments and of­fi­cial ad­vice not to travel abroad, are likely to re­main in place un­til at least July 20th amid fears that a resur­gence of Covid-19 in­fec­tions in other coun­tries could be im­ported to Ire­land.

A “green list” of coun­tries to which it is safe to travel will not be pub­lished next week, as had been ex­pected.

In­stead, it will be post­poned un­til July 20th, be­fore which the Gov­ern­ment will re­view the pub­lic health ad­vice.

Un­til then, the sta­tus quo will ap­ply, sources said.

A meet­ing of the Cab­i­net com­mit­tee on Covid-19 yes­ter­day was ad­vised that con­cerns about pos­si­ble resur­gence of the virus in some coun­tries means that the ex­ist­ing travel ad­vice should re­main un­changed. The full Cab­i­net is sched­uled to meet on Mon­day to dis­cuss the is­sue, but sources in­di­cated that the re­stric­tions are likely to re­main in place.

It had been ex­pected that travel re­stric­tions would be relaxed next week and that a safe list of coun­tries where hol­i­day­mak­ers could travel with­out be­ing re­quired to quar­an­tine for 14 days on their re­turn would be pub­lished.

How­ever, this has now been put back un­til July 20th at the ear­li­est. The re­stric­tions will be re­viewed fort­nightly after that.

Sources said that the cau­tious ap­proach by the new Gov­ern­ment was in part be­cause of the pri­or­ity it wished to give to re­open­ing schools as fully as pos­si­ble in Sep­tem­ber.

While the be­lief in Gov­ern­ment is that it can­not pre­vent peo­ple from go­ing abroad on hol­i­day, the of­fi­cial ad­vice not to travel un­less it is an es­sen­tial jour­ney will be re­it­er­ated in the com­ing days. “The clear ad­vice will be: Don’t go abroad,” one se­nior Gov­ern­ment fig­ure said. “Non-es­sen­tial travel shouldn’t take place.”

Pubs checked

Warn­ings at the State’s air­ports about the ne­ces­sity for in­com­ing trav­ellers to ob­serve the 14-day quar­an­tine are likely to be en­hanced, while the Garda launched Op­er­a­tion Nav­i­ga­tion yes­ter­day evening un­der which pubs and li­censed premises will be checked for ad­her­ence to Covid-19 health guide­lines.

The Cab­i­net com­mit­tee heard con­cerns about lev­els of com­pli­ance within pubs, and the Gov­ern­ment will con­sider a re­port on the mat­ter from the Garda and health au­thor­i­ties at its meet­ing on Mon­day.

“Strong en­force­ment mea­sures will be taken against premises that are not op­er­at­ing in ac­cor­dance with pub­lic health guide­lines,” ac­cord­ing to a Gov­ern­ment state­ment.

About 60 per cent of Dublin pubs and 40 per cent else­where re­opened on Mon­day, 15 weeks after clos­ing be­cause of the pan­demic.

New guid­ance has also been de­vel­oped for re­li­gious ser­vices, with at­ten­dance of more than 50 per­mit­ted in cer­tain cir­cum­stances. An as­sess­ment will have to be car­ried out for each premises to de­ter­mine how many can at­tend within so­cial dis­tanc­ing pa­ram­e­ters.

The premises will also have to be sub­di­vided into dis­tinct sec­tions, ei­ther by cor­dons or other mark­ings, with a max­i­mum of 50 peo­ple in that area.

There can be strictly no move­ment of peo­ple be­tween the sec­tions be­fore, dur­ing or after the ser­vice.

Close con­tact

Each area must have its own en­trance or exit route and there will need to be sep­a­rate ar­range­ments for el­e­ments of the ser­vice in­volv­ing close con­tact such as for the dis­tri­bu­tion of Holy Com­mu­nion.The use of face cov­er­ings in such in­door set­tings will also be “strongly rec­om­mended”.

Mean­while, a new re­port says Dublin has out­per­formed even best-case sce­nar­ios for lim­it­ing deaths among home­less and drug-user pop­u­la­tions dur­ing the pan­demic. As a re­sult of “quick, de­ci­sive ac­tion”, only 63 home­less peo­ple in Dublin were di­ag­nosed with Covid-19 and there was one death linked to the dis­ease, the re­port from the Lon­don School of Eco­nomics and Ana Lif­fey Drug Project states.

A prag­matic and well co-or­di­nated Gov­ern­ment re­sponse along­side hous­ing pro­vi­sion and the ex­pan­sion of harm re­duc­tion ser­vices saved lives and en­sured the pro­tec­tion of a vul­ner­a­ble group, it says.

An­other two peo­ple di­ag­nosed with Covid-19 have died, bring­ing to 1,740 the num­ber of deaths from the dis­ease. Nine new cases were con­firmed, bring­ing the num­ber of in­fec­tions in the Repub­lic to 25,498, the Na­tional Pub­lic Health Emer­gency Team said.

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