Passengers from high Covid-19 level countries to be randomly tested

Passengers from high Covid-19 level countries to be randomly tested

Passengers arriving into the State have been required by law since May 28 to fill in a passenger locator form. Picture: Jim Coughlan

The government is planning to introduce random Covid-19 testing of passengers who arrive into Ireland from countries with a high incidence of the virus.

It is one of a raft of measures it plans to bring in by August 10.

The government is still in the process of setting up a new system for monitoring people who come into the country.

After their Cabinet meeting on Monday evening, ministers said plans to strengthen existing measures for monitoring passengers who arrive into Ireland include the introduction of an Electronic Passenger Locator Form.

They also said there will be ''enhanced follow-up procedures'' and that a call centre will be operated by the Dublin Airport Authority.

In a statement issued today, the government said there is a ''proposed testing regime for symptomatic passengers at airports and ports''.

In addition, it said ''processes to restrict flight or passenger travel in certain circumstances will also be explored''.

''In conjunction with these preventative measures, there will be a renewed communications campaign across all platforms to ensure maximum public awareness of the latest advice.''

While the statement gave some clarity and direction, how the system will work is far from clear.

22/07/2020 Covid-19 Pandemic (Coronavirus), Ireland, Lockdown Day 118. Day 24 of Phase Three. Pictured aircraft at Dublin Airport this afternoon. Today the Irish Governemnt published a Green list of Countires which they are advising are safe to travel too but are only advising essential travel at this time. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie
22/07/2020 Covid-19 Pandemic (Coronavirus), Ireland, Lockdown Day 118. Day 24 of Phase Three. Pictured aircraft at Dublin Airport this afternoon. Today the Irish Governemnt published a Green list of Countires which they are advising are safe to travel too but are only advising essential travel at this time. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

''Some random targeted testing will be carried out on those arriving from locations where the incidence of the virus is particularly high,'' the spokesperson said. 

''The Passenger Locator Form will be put on an electronic basis by August 10, 2020.

''This will allow us both to inform directly incoming passengers on the public health advice to restrict their movements and to support contact tracing in event of a passenger testing positive for Covid-19.

''Arrangements are being made for a more robust system of follow-up checks to ensure those entering the country are staying where they said they would stay per the form.

''The protocols for those entering the country with COVID-19 symptoms are being reviewed to allow for testing and arrangements for such passengers while awaiting results.''

At the moment, the National Immigration Bureau carries out form collection and checks forms are fully completed on behalf of the health authorities.

As passenger numbers are increasing significantly, however, the BMU has said it needs to focus exclusively on its core function of immigrating passengers and that the HSE will take this over. It is not clear yet when that will happen.

Passengers arriving into the State have been required by law since May 28 to fill in a Passenger Locator Form.

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