The number of new travel-related Covid-19 cases is a “grave concern”, Professor Philip Nolan has said.
Professor Nolan, chairman of the NPHET Irish epidemiological modelling advisory group, said people should question whether they need to take a foreign holiday this year due to the risk of a resurgence of the virus.
He tweeted: “New travel-related Covid-19 infections a grave concern. A surge seeded by travel is a risk to public health, to healthcare workers, to the vulnerable in our community. We can protect them by foregoing our holiday abroad. A useful question for any activity: luxury or necessity?”
New travel-related COVID-19 infections a grave concern. A surge seeded by travel is a risk to public health, to healthcare workers, to the vulnerable in our community. We can protect them by foregoing our holiday abroad. A useful question for any activity: luxury or necessity? pic.twitter.com/iArJcB7ORX— Professor Philip Nolan (@President_MU) June 28, 2020
It comes as chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan warned that the high number of young people among the country’s new cases of Covid-19 marks a “worrying trend”.
We move to phase 3 on Mon 29th June. Very low levels of #COVID19. What worries me most now is travel from overseas and I fear many planning foreign trips. 2020 is a year for a staycation. Stay in Ireland, spend locally and follow public health advice. @roinnslainte @HSELive— Dr Tony Holohan (@CMOIreland) June 27, 2020
Nearly half of the 23 cases confirmed on Saturday were in people under the age of 35 while eight cases were among people aged between 35 and 54.
There were also six further deaths, bringing the death toll to 1,734.
In a statement on Saturday night, Dr Holohan said the number of young people testing positive is “now a real concern and a worrying trend.”
He also warned that some of the newly-confirmed cases had “large numbers of close contacts that have required testing and self-isolation for 14 days”.
Meanwhile, the Health Minister says the "big risk" of a spike in coronavirus cases comes from international travel.
The government has committed to publishing a list of countries where Irish people can travel to without having to quarantine when they come back.
Last Thursday, the former government announced that foreign travel to certain countries from July 9 has been approved.
Air bridges will be established between countries with similarly low infection rates from that date, enabling people to travel without undergoing quarantine.
Stephen Donnelly - who yesterday was made the Minister for Health - says there is a risk associated with more people travelling.
“The great advance we have as an island, obviously, is that we have a natural border.
“So if we can continue to do everything we can to ideally eliminate this virus on the island, but certainly to bring it down to a very low level, then obviously the big risk is international travel.”
Earlier, Mr Donnelly said there is no commitment yet to when a list of countries Irish people can travel to without quarantining on their return will be published.