The Government needs to outline a clear exit strategy for its new rules on coronavirus PCR testing on arrival into Ireland.
From Saturday, anyone arriving into the country will have to display a negative PCR test taken in the three days before travel.
The measure was already in place for Britain and South Africa and is now being extended.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, travel expert Eoghan Corry said the new policy offers a few answers but, "raises a lot of questions."
“The problem here is, is this a strategy and is there an exit point at the end of it?” he said.
“When you bring in something like this without a date when it will be re-examined, what happens at the end of it and what metrics is it based upon?
“The HSPC figures for imported cases are extremely low. That has been repeated again and again by (the Chief Medical Officer) Dr Tony Holohan. The grand total is seven. Out of the 65,000 cases we have, seven are related to international travel.
“That is a very low metric to be bringing in a measure like this which could have the effect, like the phrase Ryanair uses, of mass cancellations and disconnecting the island.”
Recent tests show that the UK variant of the virus now accounts for around 45% of new cases in Ireland; however, Mr Corry said it would have entered the country even with the new system in place.
“The virus will get in,” he said. “It always has gotten in. There are about 30 countries out of the 200-odd that have kept it out.
“The real question now is what is our exit? Once we have this in place, is there a date where people can start planning again?
“Because what will happen is bookings will collapse. We know that from the PCR testing regime that was brought in in other countries.
“We have a grand total of 23 flights in Dublin today, down from more than double that and 80 before Christmas. There are six into Belfast City, one into Belfast International, Cork and Derry, with none into Shannon.
“That is what we are looking at and, while that makes sense in the short-term, disconnecting the island can causes damage in places you didn’t expect – anyone waiting for a parcel at the moment will know all about that.
“We need some sort of idea of what the exit strategy is and what happens next.”
Traffic light system
Passengers from Britain, South Africa and countries designated ‘Red’ under the EU traffic light system must display the negative test and restrict their movements for two weeks on arrival here.
Passengers from ‘Green’ and ‘Orange’ countries do not have to restrict their movements provided they can produce the negative test.
The system will be enforced by the Border Management Unit at Dublin Airport and Gardaí at other points of entry.
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