Coronavirus: Irish MEP's call for mandatory checks at airports as EU set to issue new travel guidelines

As the EU prepares to tomorrow issue new guidelines for member states on travel, quarantine and health and safety measures, Irish MEPs have called for mandatory health checks at Irish airports and border entry points.
Coronavirus: Irish MEP's call for mandatory checks at airports as EU set to issue new travel guidelines

People in Terminal 2 arrivals at London Heathrow airport. Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire
People in Terminal 2 arrivals at London Heathrow airport. Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

As the EU prepares to tomorrow issue new guidelines for member states on travel, quarantine and health and safety measures, Irish MEPs have called for mandatory health checks at Irish airports and border entry points.

Brussels will tomorrow publish further parts for a roadmap for the bloc on lifting Covid-19 containment measures. But states will not be told when to lift border controls.

The EU recommendations are part of a “tourism package” for the bloc with non-binding guidelines covering health and safety measures for hotels and other accommodation and for transport users and providers to try and minimise infections.

They will address the use of travel vouchers - announced by the government here last week - where passengers can get refunds or future bookings with travel providers. The idea, EU sources say, will be for airlines, transport providers and tour operators to incentivise passengers to purchase, thereby reducing financial liquidity problems for companies.

A key part of the document will be the EU's advice on member states lifting internal borders. EU officials will set out how the bloc can lift quarantine measures for incoming travellers, lift border controls and come back to what is being described as a “new normal”.

There are suggestions that the EU could go as far as proposing that travellers may have to pass a test, such as a temperature check, or live in a so-called green zone or non-virus community in order to be allowed cross into other states. But this does not take account of the fact that states have independent control of borders.

EU chiefs will outline different phases and say how countries with low infection rates can start those sooner. It is also understood that the EU document says travel restrictions could be lifted first “for some modes of transport and some types of tourism activities, in view of planning summer holiday travel".

Meanwhile, a number of Irish MEPs have called for mandatory health checkpoints at Irish airports for all incoming travellers.

Fianna Fáil Ireland South MEP Billy Kelleher said: “Let's start with temperature checks. The reality is, if they have one [a temperature], they may have to turn around and go home. What of the idea of people walking around Dublin in a few weeks from the UK or elsewhere who have this?

We don't want that, it will only set things back and the progress being made.

Fine Gael Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune agreed, saying that some checks should take place at airports and clearer guidelines were needed on this.

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