Following on from Britain’s decision this afternoon to ban travel from 15 South American countries and Portugal over fears of a new coronavirus variant, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, has called on the Irish Government to immediately address these concerns here.
Speaking this afternoon, Teachta O’Rourke said:
“We have received no information from the Irish Government on the new strain of coronavirus identified in South America that has now led to Britain imposing a travel ban on 15 South American countries in addition to Portugal.
“This information should be shared immediately and a decision on a similar travel ban here needs to be taken today.
“If the evidence points to this variant being more transmissible or dangerous, or if this is not yet known, then it is essential we follow suit with a similar travel ban on these countries immediately.
“We’ve seen the damage other coronavirus variants can do and with our health system currently in crisis we cannot take any further risks of importing new strains of Covid-19.
“I appreciate inward travel from most of these countries will be limited anyway, but it only takes one individual to import a new variant of this deadly virus.
“Now is the time for an abundance of caution. We cannot afford more mistakes in the handling of this pandemic.
“With this travel ban now applying to the north, it’s essential we have an all-Ireland approach and ensure restrictions are aligned across our island.”