Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Darren O’Rourke TD has said that the Passenger Locator Form has been a total failure, with figures showing that just 18% of people are receiving follow-up calls to ensure compliance with quarantine requirements.
Teachta O’Rourke said;
“Figures I have received from the Department of Health show that in the period from 31st August to 20th September, 186,769 Covid-19 Passenger Locator Forms were completed by passengers arriving here.
“Of these, however, only 34,439 received a follow up phone call to ensure they were complying with the State’s quarantine requirements.
“Follow up calls are an extremely weak check in the first place, as people can simply say they are abiding by the rules even if they are not, but if 82% of people aren’t receiving them in the first place, then the entire process is a completely useless exercise.
“Putting the Passenger Locator Form online was supposed to address the problem of the low levels of follow-up calls, but with the online Passenger Locator Form live since 26th August, it is clear this hasn’t made a difference either.
“Without these checks, airport testing from high risk countries or even basic temperature screening in our airports, the government have left the State exposed in this area since the beginning of this pandemic.
“It is clear it has been a total failure and we need to move towards the EU traffic light system as soon as possible. But government inaction and dithering in this area now also undermines our participation in the pan-European approach.
“The EU scheme will likely see quarantine requirements replaced with testing for those arriving from red-listed countries, however as we still don’t have testing facilities in our airports, it is impossible to see how this can work here.
“The DAA told the Oireachtas Committee last week that they have brought forward proposals that would see them carrying out 15,000 tests a day in their airports, without taking away from the public health system here.
“It is unacceptable that the government have not moved on this and are still pondering the idea.
“The aviation sector is one of the worst affected due to the pandemic and the inaction of the government has made a bad situation worse.”