Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.19 8 Jun 2020


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A leading immunologist says we have to consider our border policy to try and keep COVID-19 out of Ireland.

Professor Luke O'Neill told Pat Kenny once the virus dissipates in the community, its only way back in is externally.

He also pointed to new surges of the virus in South Korea, Singapore and Japan - as well as a second wave in Iran.

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Prof O'Neill said: "It's inevitable that we will see a second wave, if you want to call it that - or spikes will emerge -  cause other countries are having that experience.

"Of course the good news this morning Pat was New Zealand... the whole country's re-opened, incredibly.

"Sporting events, everything's re-opening because of massive repression.

"Seventeen days ago they had their last case, you see, and that's now worked it's way through in a way - and of course that good news for us is we're heading in that direction.

"So New Zealand yet again are given huge praise I guess, other countries like Iran are now bottom of the class cause they're seeing second waves.

"Let's hope we're heading towards New Zealand".

"If we're lucky in Ireland we will repress this virus - we need to be very careful in the next few weeks and really be aggressive.

"Again, we shouldn't be loosening things up too much: remember, let's get it right down to like New Zealand.

"Your only source then is externals coming in, so the next big question is the border and how do we control that border.

"What the EU policy is going to be, will we set up with corridors with countries with the same rates as us?

"We're going to see a move towards a lot more discussion on travel restrictions coming in - cause again the only source will be external if we repress it.

"New Zealand: they've blocked all travel, and they're still blocked.

"The borders are heavily maintained there, you do a two week quarantine, testing on arrival... so we must think about those things here as well - cause otherwise, it will take off again by an external coming in".

He also weighed in on the hairdressers issue, as to why they are still closed.

"That's the number one risk with hairdressing at this stage, Pat is too much time.

"Time is one of our key variables as we call them: the longer you're spending close to someone, the risk goes up a lot.

"The advice for hairdressers is get in and out - even for anybody - get in and out quick, and then that decreases risk obviously.

"I think what's happening Pat in my opinion is public opinion is different to what the Government wants or what businesses want.

"People are voting with their feet, they're still reluctant, still frightened.

"So it's not simply a matter of opening up shops and then everybody rushes in - I think we'll see more evidence of this reluctance actually in the coming days".

Luke O'Neill: Border must be looked at to keep COVID-19 out

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

Main image: A general view of passport control at Dublin Airport in 2015. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

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Coronavirus Covid-19 Iran Irish Border Japan Luke O'Neill New Zealand Second Wave Singapore South Korea Surge Testing

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