Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Darren O’Rourke TD has reacted to a letter from the Chief Medical Officer to the Minister for Health which sets out that NPHET have advised that additional restrictions on international arrivals are required.
Speaking this morning, the Meath East TD said;
“Sinn Féin have been very critical of the hands-off approach that the government have taken to international arrivals, and we have consistently called for stricter checks and restrictions at our ports of entry to help prevent more cases of Covid-19 being imported.
“Information contained in a letter from the Chief Medical Officer to the Minister for Health reaffirms our position and completely undermines the government’s approach.
“Acknowledging the new requirement for a pre-departure test, NPHET have told the Minister that further measures are needed; such as ending the discretion on restricting movements and post-arrival testing.
“While the new requirement for a pre-departure test is welcome, that alone is not enough.
“You only need to look at the situation in Australia, where so far ten arrivals for the Australian Open have tested positive while in quarantine – despite them having negative tests before arrival.
“NPHET have said that their modelling shows that even the best-performing pre-departure Covid-19 tests will miss up to 40% of cases.
“The government have ignored our calls for a travel ban on South American countries, South Africa and Portugal and in doing so have left us exposed to the new strains identified there.
“No lessons have been learned from the effect that the British variant has had on case numbers here.
“We have also called for the voluntary and unenforced quarantine procedure to be replaced with a mandatory system.
“NPHET have similarly advised that ‘every effort be made to ensure that discretion as it currently applies to the need for restriction of movements and PCR-testing post-arrival in Ireland is removed’.
“The government have ignored our calls up to this point, will they now ignore the advice of NHPET and the Chief Medical Officer?”