Irish Examiner view: Hard decisions required on international travel

Irish Examiner view: Hard decisions required on international travel

There is increasing pressure to introduce tougher restrictions on inward bound travellers into Ireland.

The confirmation that 59 cases of Covid-19 were linked to just one flight into Ireland last summer is another very strong argument for a period of the firmest controls at international entry points — notwithstanding the vulnerability represented by our open-door policy with Northern Ireland.

Those 59 cases were traced to a seven-and-a-half-hour flight that had a passenger occupancy of 17% — only 49 of 283 seats were in use. There was a crew of 12 and everyone onboard wore a mask.

That New Zealand health officials are investigating what may be the country’s first community Covid-19 case in months, in a woman who recently returned from overseas, strengthens that argument.

The woman, 56, who returned to New Zealand from overseas on December 30, tested positive for the virus days after leaving a two-week mandatory quarantine at the border, where she had twice tested negative.

The logic of this leads to only one conclusion, even if that means extremely hard decisions.

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