Government to take ‘cautious approach’ in agreeing ‘green list’ of countries

Government to take ‘cautious approach’ in agreeing ‘green list’ of countries
Air traffic control strikes in Ireland

The Government said it will take a “cautious” approach when it decides on a “green list” of countries later on Tuesday.

The Cabinet is meeting this evening to discuss the list of countries that will deemed safe to travel to.

The “green list”, which is expected to be published later, has been labelled as confusing by opposition parties as the public advise against all non-essential foreign travel remains in place.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said that travel has reduced dramatically compared to last year.

“The Government will be meeting to decide on this issue.

“We actually postponed this idea of a green list in a cautious approach and we will take a cautions approach in relation to it,” he told the Dail.

“The big question is, how do we all live with Covid-19 for the foreseeable future? We have really tough issues, collectively as a society.”

An Taoiseach Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

The health system has been notified of 36 new confirmed cases, bringing the overall tally to 25,802.

No more deaths were recorded.

Roisin Shortall, the Social Democrats co-leader, said that the “big weakness” is the failure to control the importation of the virus from abroad.

“There is huge confusion about international travel,” she said.

“The promised announcement of the green list for countries considered as safe, while at the same time advising against all non-essential travel is inherently contradictory.

“But of much more concern is the Government’s ambiguity about travel from countries that are not on the green list.

“Those countries regarded as unsafe due to a high prevalence of the virus.

“Not only has the Government operated a self-isolate policy which has been largely unenforceable over recent months, but inexplicably in the last few weeks the travel advice has actually changed and weakened for those countries.

“Incoming travellers are now advised to merely restrict their movements.

“This poses a huge risk to our health, the lives of our vulnerable to our economy.”

Meanwhile, the HSE assistant national director of public health and child health Dr Kevin Kelleher said that Ireland has done “fairly well” compared to a number of countries in its fight against Covid-19.

Dr Kelleher said: “Our numbers of cases are well down compared to other countries.

“If you take Idaho in the United States with a population of 1.5 million, they are seeing 1,000 cases per day which would be the equivalent of 3-4,000 cases per day here.

“We never went near that sort of number.”

Dr Kelleher said the health service is better prepared to deal with a second wave of coronavirus if one happens.

“I think we have learned a lot, we have got better prepared, we have got better resources available to us in terms of the knowledge we have learned as an organisation and we have got staff who now know what we need to do and we have got PPE in place,” he added.

Dr Liam Woods, HSE national director of acute hospitals said there is more guidance and training available to HSE healthcare staff but challenges for the health service will remain.

“The challenge is one that has been flagged to the committee and that is one of addressing the challenge of winter and the challenge of Covid-19 on top of winter.”

Meanwhile, a GP has said that people should not feel any blame about contracting Covid-19 as it is a highly infectious disease.

This is a highly infectious virus and if you think you have been in a high-risk situation, we don't want you to keep quiet about it

Dr Sumi Dunne

Coronavirus outbreaks are happening in construction, fast food and supermarket workplaces, Ireland’s acting chief medical officer warned on Monday night.

Dr Ronan Glynn said people cannot underestimate how quickly clusters develop.

Dr Sumi Dunne, a member of the Irish College of General Practitioners, said there is an overlap between the common cold and Covid-19 and people should get in touch with their doctor as soon as they experience any one of the listed symptoms.

She said: “I think the key message here is not to feel any kind of blame.

“This is a highly infectious virus and if you think you have been in a high-risk situation, we don’t want you to keep quiet about it.

(PA Graphics)

“If you have been at a friend’s house or you have been in a situation where there were more people there than you have expected… this is not about blame.”

Meanwhile, people attending courts have been advised to wear face coverings.

The Courts Service said, while face coverings are not mandatory at present, people should wear one, save for those who cannot wear them for medical reasons.

There were no further deaths reported in Ireland from Covid-19 on Monday, while six new cases have been confirmed by the Department of Health.

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