Government plans to impose a 14-day quarantine on overseas travellers arriving in Ireland have been described as “ineffective” by the chief executive of Ryanair.
Michael O’Leary has called for the Government to halt the new regulation, which is set to come into effect next week.
Mr O’Leary said it has “no basis in science or in health”, and accused the Government of putting Ireland into lockdown.
The airline said it will start operating almost 1,000 flights a day from July 1 and will put a number of health measures in place, including the requirement for all passengers to wear face masks.
Passengers arriving in Ireland will be legally required to complete a locator form under the new rules.
Mr O’Leary said that while the Government and health authorities have done a “great job”, the country is emerging in a “much more conservative and restricted manner” from its lockdown laws compared with most other European countries.
“We can and should do more – it’s time to get the economy moving,” he told RTE’s Morning Ireland.
“We’re requiring people to quarantine if you come in from countries that have performed better than Ireland, but no quarantine if you come from the country that’s performed worst.
“The concept of quarantine is completely ineffective if you don’t quarantine people at the airport.
We are being overly conservative, it's time to reward the Irish people with relaxation of these measuresMichael O'Leary, Ryanair
“Once you allow them on to Dublin Bus or in a taxi, if you have a coronavirus-positive person then the infection spreads.
“A quarantine that is imposed only on after you have used public transport to get to your eventual destination is not a quarantine, it’s simply political game-play.”
He accused the Government of imposing the “most stringent” lockdown restrictions of any European country.
“We are being overly conservative, it’s time to reward the Irish people with relaxation of these measures,” he added.
He said that Irish families have already booked “well-earned” holidays abroad this summer.
The airline has refunded around 400 million euro to its passengers since travel restrictions came into force in March.
The public health advice is to avoid all non essential travel off the island currently @morningireland - thatâs what our doctors are telling us in the interests of our health— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) May 27, 2020
Chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry has advised against flying.
He told RTE Morning Ireland: “We should take great care before we jump in and reverse those significant gains we have made since March in bending and smashing that curve.”
“At this point in time we would not be advising people to fly.”
Health Minister Simon Harris tweeted on Wednesday morning: “The public health advice is to avoid all non-essential travel off the island currently – that’s what our doctors are telling us in the interests of our health.”