OUTBREAKS of Covid-19 linked to international travel have made a comeback – highlighting the risk posed from people coming in from abroad.
igures show two flight-related outbreaks last week involving five to seven people.
In the period from April 20 to last Monday, travel-related cases of the virus rose to 214, mainly due to tests on people coming here who have to enter mandatory quarantine.
The figures are expected to have an influence on the decision on how soon people will be able to take a holiday abroad and on incoming tourism.
Much is pinned on the European Union’s Digital Green Certificate that would allow EU citizens who have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from Covid-19 to travel more freely within the bloc.
All samples taken from people in mandatory quarantine are now sequenced, a more advanced form of analysis, to find out if they have one of the variants of concern.
It comes as seven more Covid-19 related deaths were reported yesterday, five of which were from April.
There were 418 more cases with nearly three-quarters of these among the under-45s.
The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital fell to 137 and there was a drop in these patients in intensive care, down to 37.
However, there were 18 additional hospitalisations in the previous 24 hours.
Yesterday’s cases included 167 in Dublin, 39 in Cork, 32 in Donegal, 29 in Kildare, 22 in Meath with the remaining 129 cases are spread across 20 other counties.
It comes as deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said there are no plans to keep Donegal in lockdown from Monday.
He was speaking following a huge spike in the numbers of Covid cases in the county in recent weeks.
Dr Glynn also appealed to those “pushing the boundaries” to follow public health advice.
In Co Donegal, both the Milford and Letterkenny electoral areas recorded up to five times the national average of incidence of the virus.
“What happens next, hopefully, is that people across Donegal and in the higher incidence areas in particular, continue doing what they have been doing and those who have been pushing the boundaries stop,” he said.
“It will not take much for incidence to fall pretty rapidly in Donegal.
“It won’t take much for that to happen.
“This is not about threatening local lockdowns or local restrictions.”
Non-essential shops in Northern Ireland open next Monday, a week ahead of the Republic.
Professor Emer Shelley, dean of public health in the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin, said a much higher percentage of people in the North have had at least one dose of a vaccine against Covid-19.
“Just as you would not visit your neighbour and put them at risk, would you travel from the south and introduce risk in parts of Northern Ireland that are now lower risk,” she said.
People are being urged to shop local and support their own local community and to think carefully about where they spend their money.
Dr Connor Bamford, a virologist from Queen’s University Belfast, said there is “always a real risk that movement of people will spread the virus.”
“Vaccination of younger, more mobile individuals is not at high enough levels yet in the Republic nor Northern Ireland, so care must still be taken in the next few months as the vaccination programme rolls out,” he said.
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