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Thursday 23 March 2023 Dublin: 7°C
Leah Farrell/ Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group.
# Covid-19
NPHET voices concern about 'small number of travel-related cases', including from UK and Sweden
‘Fewer than 10′ such cases have been recorded over the past two weeks.

LAST UPDATE | Jun 18th 2020, 10:52 PM

THE NATIONAL PUBLIC Health Emergency Team has said there is “a bit of a concern” about an increase in Covid-19 cases in Ireland as a result of travel.

At a Department of Health briefing this evening, health officials have said that “fewer than 10″ such cases have been recorded over the past two weeks.

Professor Philip Nolan, chair of NPHET’s Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said that travel from Sweden and the UK account for two of the cases.

“It’s a little bit of a concern, early in the epidemic we of course we’re seeing a large number of travel-related cases. Just over the last two weeks we’ve begun to see a small number of travel-related cases, but it is a cause for concern nonetheless. A small number of cases but a remarkable proportion of the very small number of cases that we have,” he said.

Asked where the origin of the cases comes from, Nolan said: 

It’s a very small number of cases, it’s less than 10 cases, many of them are still under investigation. In the detail, of the sources we know of, the UK and Sweden are two and we’re following up on the rest.

On this increase, chief medical officer Dr. Tony Holohan said there is “a small amount of travel that happens”, but that the advice remains that non-essential travel in and out of the country is not advised.

“The advice and guidance that we have in place for now, arising from our work at NPHET on public health grounds is still very clearly is we’re advising people to avoid non-essential travel from this country. We’re advising people who are planning on coming here for travel-related purposes that are not essential, for tourist related activities for example, that now is not the time,” he said. 

We won’t continue to have that advice for any longer than we think is absolutely necessary. We know there’s a lot of work happening at a European level, we participate in that, to try as early as we think is appropriate and safe for us to do so, to begin to restore travel in the same way as we wish to restore all other forms of economic and social activity.

As of the end of last month people arriving into Ireland are required to fill out a mandatory Passenger Locator Form detailing where they will be staying.

The form can also be used for follow-up checks to ensure that people are staying where they said they would be. People arriving into Ireland are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days but a failure to do so is not an offence.

Asked if he believes this system is working given the increase in imported cases, Holohan said:

Well, it’s a small number of cases, we wouldn’t like to see any cases being imported if you can avoid that. We’re going to get as low as possible and the greater the extent of progress that we’ve seen, the more important if you like the risk of importation of cases becomes.

“We want to try to ensure that we can step up in as much as we possibly can the arrangements we have in place here to limit that risk. But that starts first of all with personal responsibility and the advice we’re giving to people to avoid non-essential travel. And I’m still saying that very clearly.”

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