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Foreign travel is safe if Covid-19 precautions are taken, says disease expert

Jack Lambert was speaking after chief medical officer Tony Holohan advised people to cancel overseas holidays.


(Brian Lawless/PA)

(Brian Lawless/PA)

(Brian Lawless/PA)

It is safe to travel abroad as long as coronavirus protocols are adhered to, an infectious disease specialist has said.

There is uncertainty around whether people should travel overseas after chief medical officer Tony Holohan advised Irish residents to cancel foreign holidays to prevent a potential second surge.

However, the Government has said travel restrictions could be eased by opening up air bridges with other countries that have low rates of infection.

If we do the hand-washing, social distancing and wear a face mask then yes, it is safe to travelJack Lambert

Jack Lambert, infectious diseases specialist at the Mater and Rotunda hospitals, said it is safe to fly to foreign countries if people follow protocols.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has advised people not to take non-essential trips abroad, but there is no ban on overseas travel.

Ryanair is operating 40% of its schedule across Europe from Wednesday.

“If we do the hand-washing, social distancing and wear a face mask then yes, it is safe to travel,” Mr Lambert told RTE radio.

“When I was working in hospital I took care of 700 people who had Covid. I didn’t stand there without a mask – I used all of the appropriate precautions and I did not catch Covid-19.

“We have to to come up with practical solutions because there is no end point with Covid, but there is an end point with our economy.

“There is an end point with how long people can continue to live in lockdown and have total restrictions on travel for business, family and personal reasons.

“We stayed home for the past three or four months and we still have Covid circulating in the community and we have a few cases of Covid-19 coming into the country because of travel. I am trying to come up with a practical solution that looks to the future and is gong to be safe.


(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

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(PA Graphics)

“I wouldn’t recommend going to Florida because Covid is rampant in Florida. Would I go to Greece, Slovenia? Absolutely. I probably think it is safer to go there then city centres in Ireland at the present time because Covid is still circulating in the community in small numbers.

“I think we have to come up with solutions that are practical and not just come up with broad strokes that nobody should travel and everybody should be quarantined.

“We have to have a measured response to this because going forward, this is not a short-term problem – this is a long-time pandemic.”

One new Covid-19 death and 11 new cases were confirmed in Ireland on Tuesday.

There have been 1,736 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland and 25,473 confirmed cases.