Letter to the Editor: Preventing new cases of infection at main airports

Letter to the Editor: Preventing new cases of infection at main airports

Circa 40 flights landed in Dublin Airport yesterday and this raises the question of how we are going to control the importation of covid19 infections at our airports and ports as we gradually unlock the country.

Talk about asking incoming passengers to self-isolate for 14 days is not really practical especially if you are a tourist coming to this country later in the year.

It is also impossible to enforce. However, the prevention of incoming infections will be critical. Can I suggest initially that each of the three major airports in the country have onsite testing facilities.

Antibody tests are now reliable, quick, and easy to perform and anyone testing positive, indicating that they already had the infection, are free to go on with their journey with little delay. Individual who test negative for the antibody test are then given a ‘PCR test’ to see if they are carrying the actual virus.

This will take a little longer and passengers will have to wait, perhaps overnight in a designated airport hotel. If the result comes back negative then they are clear of virus and free to go. Passengers could be charged for such tests.

This will help protect the people of this country and help both the re-emerging tourist and other industries get back on their feet. The testing can be scaled up or down as needs be until this crisis is completely over. It could also be extended to our ferry ports.

This is not rocket science, just good forward strategic planning, but why isn’t it being done?

Prof Tom Cotter 

School of Biochemistry & Cell Biology

University College Cork

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