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People travelling to Ireland should take two COVID-19 tests - Kingston Mills

People travelling to Ireland should be asked to take a COVID-19 test three days before they are d...
Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

09.26 4 Sep 2020


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People travelling to Ireland should take two COVID-19 tests - Kingston Mills


Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

09.26 4 Sep 2020


Share this article


People travelling to Ireland should be asked to take a COVID-19 test three days before they are due to arrive in the country.

That's the view of immunology expert Kingston Mills who says travellers should do a second test at the airport on arrival.

However, the Professor of Experimental Immunology at Trinity College Dublin said testing at airports on its own "is probably not sufficient".

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Random testing at Irish airports is expected to be introduced, but it is unclear when.

The Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris confirmed today that the Government is working on a new national plan for the virus which will be published this month.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Professor Mills said: "What we need to do is ask people to test three days in advance of their travel and again at the airport.

"Three or four days before travel and arrival you'll capture most of the cases.

"There's an incubation period which you might miss, but if you take two tests, one before travel and one on arrival, there's a very good likelihood you'll get the majority of cases.

"That's a lot simpler than asking people to isolate.

"This would be fantastic for business because a lot of people who have to go into isolation for 14 days after returning from an essential business trip, and it's really constraining business."

Quarantine 'not working'

Professor Mills said the testing would be a better option because the current system of asking people to quarantine "isn't working".

He said: "If you're asking people to quarantine and everyone is quarantining then that's fine, but that's not happening.

"Currently, the regulations are that people have to fill out this form on arrival, but its not a legal requirement to self-isolate."

He said the number of people who have been contacted to check whether they are self-isolating is "as low as 30%".

He also cited the testing regime in airports such as Vienna whereby people can get results within two hours.

Professor Mills added that with regard to loosening travel restrictions in Ireland, "we need to remind ourselves of what happened in February and March.

He said: "We imported the issue of COVID-19 through travel, and had we had more stringent measures at the time, I'm not saying we wouldn't have had a crisis but we certainly wouldn't have had a crisis as quickly as we had.

He said that there was "absolutely no doubt" that if the number of cases here don't decrease then the virus would be imported through travel.

"We have to have measures in place to restrict bringing it in again through travel."

Main image: Passengers at Dulin Airport in July. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

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Airports COVID-19 Test Coronavirus Covid-19 International Travel Kingston Mills Travel

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