Deputy Michael Lowry
In light of the justified nationwide concerns surrounding the arrival of people into airports around the country, Deputy Michael Lowry is calling for the immediate Covid swab testing to be carried out on incoming passengers at all Irish airports.
Along with the members of the Regional Independent Group, Deputy Lowry says that Ireland is at risk of importing significant Covid-19 infection, particularly where passengers have started their journeys in areas where Covid-19 infection rates are many times greater than those in Ireland and are continuing to grow.
‘Our understanding and ability to turnaround Covid-19 PCR tests has improved substantially since this outbreak began. We now have available laboratory capacity in both the public and private sectors that can return test results in 2 hours’ says the Deputy.
Deputy Lowry says that it would be perfectly feasible for incoming passengers to book one night’s accommodation close to the airport while they await clearance to travel the next day. ‘For Irish residents returning home, they should be allowed to travel on to their destination and await their results before going out in public’ he says.
‘Those who test negative for the virus should be permitted onwards travel within Ireland, without the need to isolate for a two week period, but they must follow our social distancing and face covering guidelines. Those who test positive will be required to isolate in managed accommodation’ he says.
Deputy Lowry says that, on April 4, the Regional Independent Group was the first political grouping to call for the wearing of face masks where social distancing was difficult to implement. ‘This has now become a specific infection prevention measure adopted by NEPHET’.
Members of the Regional Independent Group were also the first to call for swabs to be taken in Nursing Homes by In-House Care Managers, which has also been adopted as preferred procedure by NEPHET.
Deputy Lowry says that ‘testing at our airports is technically feasible. It will remove the 14 day isolation period and will help to reduce the risk of infection from abroad.
'The members of the Regional Group are calling for this initiative to be agreed and implemented as quickly as possible’, Deputy Lowry added.