Ireland's offshore islands go into lockdown in bid to beat coronavirus

Ireland's offshore islands go into lockdown in bid to beat coronavirus
Inis Mór. File image

Several offshore islands have gone into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic with tourists and holiday home owners being discouraged from travelling there.

Ferry companies serving the three Aran Islands and Inishbofin have agreed to discourage tourists from travelling during the crisis.

Island leaders have stressed that there are many vulnerable people living offshore and that logistically they may not have the same access to testing and care as people living on the mainland.

Around 1,300 people live permanently on the three Aran Islands off the Co Galway coast with a further 180 people living on Inishbofin close to the Mayo border.

All four islands enjoy a huge tourist trade each summer with tens of thousands travelling there from home and abroad.

But all four islands, following telephone polls and other ways on canvassing local opinion, have requested that people do not travel there until this crisis has passed.

Inishbofin Development Company issued a statement said it was important that appropriate measures be put in place.

“In light of the rapidly escalating Covid-19 crisis, and having listened to the concerns of ferry operators, we feel it is reasonable to discourage all tourists, holiday home owners and work people from visiting the island until at least March 29,” said the statement.

On Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands with a population of about 800, residents participated in a vote by phone given that they could not have a public meeting, and requested that tourists not travel.

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024

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