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Fears rise over Delta variant surge in Republic of Ireland as country opens borders to foreign travel

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Dublin Airport. File image

Dublin Airport. File image

Warning: Dr Gerald Barry says cases could rise with people arriving from the UK

Warning: Dr Gerald Barry says cases could rise with people arriving from the UK

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Dublin Airport. File image

Fears are rising over a Delta surge engulfing the Irish Republic as the country opens up its borders to foreign travel today.

Over 3,700 cases have been reported in the Republic over the past three days, and it has been warned that travel, particularly from the UK, could see a further surge in cases.

From today non-essential travel is to be permitted in Ireland, while England is opening up for its so-called ‘Freedom Day’.

The move by Prime Minister Boris Johnson will see mandatory mask wearing dropped, nightclubs reopen and limits on the number of people a person can meet indoors ceasing.

Coronavirus Data Graphs

“If travel increases from the UK into Ireland, it’s very likely we will get an increase in cases from that,” UCD virologist Dr Gerald Barry said.

“People will bring the virus with them, maybe unknowingly, but it will throw fuel on the fire. And we have a pretty good fire burning here already with case numbers.”

Around 10% of new Covid-19 cases are related to travel since the end of June, as people started returning to EU holiday spots such as Spain and Portugal.

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Warning: Dr Gerald Barry says cases could rise with people arriving from the UK

Warning: Dr Gerald Barry says cases could rise with people arriving from the UK

Warning: Dr Gerald Barry says cases could rise with people arriving from the UK

Niamh O’Beirne, national lead for testing and tracing at Ireland’s HSE, said: “We are seeing an increased number of people with a travel history in the last 14 days, particularly from some of the holiday locations in Europe.

“We have also got about 10% of cases now which have a travel history,” she told Newstalk’s On the Record.

More than 150,000 people are expected to travel through Dublin Airport alone next week as restriction ease, including over 22,500 today. Despite the spiralling case numbers in the UK, vaccinated passengers can travel into Ireland from today, without having to quarantine.

Dr Barry said: “If people can come to Ireland without any quarantine, isolation or testing, it will encourage travel and that’s a concern.

“The reality is the situation in the UK is incredible, to put it mildly in terms of case numbers.

“This variant is incredibly infectious, much more than anything seen up to now.

“We even know there’s potential for vaccinated people to carry the virus, to transmit it to others and UK teenagers aren’t vaccinated. We know teenagers transmit the virus, just as much as adults.”


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