Sinn Féin TD Darren O’Rourke has today called for more robust safety measures to be introduced for our ports and airports to help stop the further spread of Covid-19 in Ireland.
“I welcome the introduction of the mandatory completion of the Public Health Passenger Locator Form today, but it should not have taken this length of time to introduce this measure.
“The government have been well behind the curve in ensuring proper checks at our ports and airports, and while other countries have been installing temperature checks and even full testing procedures on arrival, they have been content with handing out an optional form.
“This extraordinary pandemic requires a far more robust response.
“The fight against Covid-19 here has come at a huge cost so far. A laissez-faire approach to travellers arriving into Ireland could put the progress made to date into jeopardy. The weeks and months ahead will be hugely important.
“Therefore, Sinn Féin believe additional measures should be introduced to help mitigate the risk of the Covid-19 arriving into Ireland from abroad.
“Two groups, the International Air Transport Association and Airports Council International have put forward a number of proposals that we believe should now be considered.
“One of these is temperature screening for those entering and leaving the island, which we believe should now be introduced. We fully understand this will not catch every case of Covid-19, but taken in combination with other measures, it will contribute to the effort.
“Temperature screening can also act as a deterrent for those thinking of travelling who may be unwell and provide a level of reassurance to other members of the travelling public.
“While some airlines have now introduced their own requirement on the wearing of face coverings on flights, we believe this should now be introduced for all those flying into and out of Ireland.
“The collection of more detailed information on passengers, for the purpose of contract tracing, should also be included in an expansion of measures.
“Those coming into Ireland should be assessed as to the risk they pose of carrying COVID-19, and whether they need to be medically quarantined or be provided with a place to isolate for 14 days if they cannot show they have appropriate arrangements in place. Such measures have been introduced in other countries so there is no reason why it has not been done here already.
“No single action can eliminate the dangers of the virus arriving into Ireland going forward, but introducing a range of smaller procedures in our ports of entry can help mitigate the danger.”