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Government to introduce random coronavirus testing at airports

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said the situation regarding international travel is ‘volatile’.

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Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said he wants to ensure schools can reopen (PA)

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said he wants to ensure schools can reopen (PA)

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said he wants to ensure schools can reopen (PA)

The Minister for Health has said the Government is to introduce random testing for coronavirus at airports.

Stephen Donnelly said the international situation is becoming more volatile, and that the Government is taking a cautious approach to the issue of foreign travel.

“We’re introducing random testing at the airports and an increased public health presence and we are examining other options as well for further restrictions on non-essential travel,” he told RTE radio.

“The international situation is becoming  more volatile, we’re looking at what has been happening in the United States and Latin America and even closer to home – Spain, Germany, France and parts of England and Australia.

“We’re taking a cautious approach and we’re continuing to take a cautious approach,” he said.

There has been a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in Ireland in the past week with an average of 44 cases being reported daily.

On Saturday, 45 new cases of coronavirus were reported but there were no further deaths.

Asked about whether the reopening of “wet” pubs on August 10 will go ahead, Mr Donnelly said the Government will make a decision based on advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

The Cabinet is to meet on Tuesday to decide whether the country can proceed to Phase 4 which will allow pubs that do not serve food to reopen and for gatherings of more than 50 people to be held.

Mr Donnelly said he did not want to pre-judge what NPHET advises, and the Government is focused on reopening schools.

“I don’t want to make any comments on that because that is something for NPHET to come to me with a view on on Tuesday, but it is certainly the case that decisions could be made if NPHET deemed necessary in order to keep the opening of schools on track,” he said.

“We have closely followed public health advice, both the previous government and this government, and that has served the country very well. I don’t want to prejudge what NPHET may decide. Certainly, the number one focus is getting the schools reopened.”

Mr Donnelly said he was sympathetic to the plight of publicans and he could not say whether they should order stock with a view to reopening on August 10.

PA