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Non-mandatory self-isolation for travellers is not working – health expert

Professor Kingston Mills said people are ignoring Government advice on avoiding non-essential travel as flights are departing from Dublin airport.

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A notice for arriving passengers regarding the Covid-19 Passenger Locator Form at Terminal 2 in Dublin Airport as a requirement for people arriving in Ireland from overseas to alert the authorities where they will be self isolating has come into effect (Brian Lawless/PA)

A notice for arriving passengers regarding the Covid-19 Passenger Locator Form at Terminal 2 in Dublin Airport as a requirement for people arriving in Ireland from overseas to alert the authorities where they will be self isolating has come into effect (Brian Lawless/PA)

A notice for arriving passengers regarding the Covid-19 Passenger Locator Form at Terminal 2 in Dublin Airport as a requirement for people arriving in Ireland from overseas to alert the authorities where they will be self isolating has come into effect (Brian Lawless/PA)

Asking people travelling into Ireland from abroad to self-isolate for 14 days is “not working”, according to Professor Kingston Mills.

He is the professor of experimental immunology and head of the Centre for the Study of Immunology at Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute in Dublin.

Any person travelling from abroad into Ireland is expected to self-quarantine or isolate for 14 days.

That restriction was supposed to be lifted on Thursday of this week, but it is now expected to be extended until July 20 and then reviewed every two weeks thereafter.

A green list of countries where it is safe to travel to and from without having to quarantine is not expected to be published until July 20.

Prof Mills said Ireland has done well in suppressing the spread of coronavirus but allowing unrestricted travel into the country would unravel this.

“We’re one of the countries with the lowest levels of the virus in Europe and we’re an island. We have a chance to do even better than we have done in terms of completely eliminating the virus and preventing any further surges of the virus,” he told RTE’s Morning Ireland.

“The idea of non-mandatory self isolation is not really working as I understand there are a significant amount of people not self-isolating or they are not being followed up.”

“People are effectively ignoring the advice from Government not to travel because you only have to look at the number of flights going in and out of Dublin to see that.”

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People arriving in Ireland are expected to self-quarantine for 14 days (Brian Lawless/PA)

People arriving in Ireland are expected to self-quarantine for 14 days (Brian Lawless/PA)

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People arriving in Ireland are expected to self-quarantine for 14 days (Brian Lawless/PA)

Prof Mills said there are some European countries that may be safe to travel in and out from but he noted there are cities in the US where there are high numbers of cases.

“There’s flights coming into Ireland from places like Chicago where they have a significant number of cases. If you have unrestricted flights coming in and people are not self isolating when they get here, then you are asking for trouble in terms of the virus re-surging.”

Restrictions on international travel expected to be extended when the Cabinet meets on Monday.

Concerns over reported breaching of guidelines at some pubs in Dublin will also be voiced.

One more person has died with Covid-19 in Ireland on Sunday.

There has now been a total of 1,741 related deaths in the country, the National Public Health Emergency Team said.

PA