Prof Kingston Mill, a Trinity immunologist and co-leader of the coronavirus research hub, today encouraged holiday-goers to stay in Ireland rather than travelling abroad to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio One today, Mills, who is co-leader of the coronavirus research hub in Trinity, cast doubt on the safety of a return to holiday travel abroad.
“We’ve seen what happened in other countries when they have opened up too quickly”, he said. “They’ve got surges and spikes after they had got the levels down low.”
“So if we open up flights without any restrictions then that’s what is going to happen and the idea of non-mandatory self isolation is not really working in that I understand that a significant number of people are either not isolating or they’re not being followed up.”
Speaking to Sarah McInerney on RTÉ Radio One, the Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said today that mandatory quarantine post flight would not work in Ireland and the government would instead introduce testing in airports.
However, Mill said that the two types of tests – a temperature check and a test for the virus – would miss cases as potentially a “majority” of virus carriers are asymptomatic and there is an incubation period in which the virus cannot be picked up in a test.
“There are flights coming in from places like Chicago. Chicago has significant numbers of cases right now. So if you have unrestricted flights where people are not isolating when they get here from cities like Chicago then you are asking for trouble in terms of a resurgence of the virus again”, he said.
“We only have to remember what happened back in February and March. Most of the cases that started in Ireland was a direct result of travel from Northern Italy and we don’t want to repeat those mistakes again.”
He added that “Irish people should be encouraged to go on holidays in Ireland and support the Irish tourist industry rather than having the risks of going abroad”.