One in three passengers arriving at Dublin Airport from UK

Social Democrats co-leader says figures showing 26,000 people arriving in three-week period as worrying
One in three passengers arriving at Dublin Airport from UK

From June 29 to July 19, Dublin Airport saw 26,280 passengers arrive from the UK, which now has two areas in stages of lock-down and the further easing of coronavirus restrictions has been postponed for at least two weeks, amid concerns over an increase in coronavirus cases. Picture: File image

In a three week period last month, 88,690 people travelled through Dublin Airport, from a range of countries with increasing Covid cases.

From June 29 to July 19, the airport saw 26,280 passengers arrive from the UK, which now has two areas in stages of lock-down and the further easing of coronavirus restrictions has been postponed for at least two weeks, amid concerns over an increase in coronavirus cases.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson said it was time to "squeeze the brake pedal" as the prevalence of the virus in the community in England is rising for the first time since May.

The figures from Dublin Airport were released by Transport Minister Eamon Ryan in a parliamentary answer to Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy, who called the figures "worrying".

"These stats for a relatively short period, looking at some of the places people are coming from, the UK is huge, a third of all people travelling," she said.

"When you look at England, I don't see it being managed effectively.

"When you look at the UK in particular, a lot of these people are meeting family and it's not about who and the jurisdiction, but about public health and we've got to keep that in mind.

"We've no way of differencing Leicester and London, and essentially we'll have to live with the virus until a vaccine or treatment, so until that's the case we've got to accept risk and minimise risk.

"The common travel area makes it difficult to adopt the New Zealand approach, so we have to put safeguards at ports and airports, giving people tests.

If we get a second wave, whatever businesses that are barely existing, you'll essentially close down those viable businesses if you don't manage the spread.

"One of the biggest risks is coming from travel and those figures are pretty scary."

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has previously said that tourists should not be coming to Ireland at the minute, but the Government have stopped short of a blanket ban on incoming travel.

The Government have noted that Ireland needs to export medicines to other parts of the world that they need, and export cannot be carried out without customs officials, pilots, and hauliers.

In Northern Ireland, those who return to the state can book in for a Covid-19 test in a local health centre without consultation with their GP.

Ms Murphy says the Republic must find a happy medium in testing in order to ensure capacity but test those entering the country.

"We don't want to take up capacity and delay a diagnosis, but the whole testing thing has to be rethought.

"We need to look at this in a very strategic way, by making it easy as possible to go to a test centre and get results very quickly, along with the health and hygiene measures in place and isolation."

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