Simon Coveney denies Government made a 'hames' of green list

Simon Coveney denies Government made a 'hames' of green list
Simon Coveney. Picture: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said that he expects insurance companies to respond to the official advice about travel to countries on the green list.

The Government is also adding significantly to the protocols at airports with the Passenger Locator Form going online from August 10, a call centre is planned with greater capacity to ensure everyone receives a follow-up call.

Mr Coveney added that the Government will be looking at countries and specific regions within countries that may become hot spots and ways to deal with the risk of travel to and from those areas.

Further measures could include a more targeted approach and could require people from those areas to take a Covid-19 test before they come to Ireland. 

There could also be random testing at airports for passengers arriving from non-green list countries and for arriving passengers displaying symptoms, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

Mr Coveney acknowledged that there was some confusion about the Government’s green list for travel, but denied that they had made a “hames” of it.

File image. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
File image. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

However, he said there were still 50,000 people leaving the country every week and the Department of Foreign Affairs had an obligation to highlight the different risk levels of the countries to which they were travelling.

Mr Coveney rejected a claim by the CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association, Pat Dawson, that nothing would change with the publication of the green list

“It’s not true that it hasn’t changed.” The Minister said he expects travel insurance companies to respond to the official advice, but the safest thing remained not to take holidays abroad.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) did not have a significant concern with transit airports, it was the destination and country of origin that was the issue, he explained when asked about countries on the green list to which there were no direct flights.

There were no instances of the spread of the virus by people who came from a country on the green list, he said.

“I can accept there has been some confusion, that’s why it’s important to make a definitive statement. But the overall message remains – the safest thing to do is stay at home.

“Ireland cannot close itself off. We will have to learn to live with this virus.”

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