A Cork travel agent has said lifting the travel ban between Ireland and Britain and South Africa on Saturday is “too soon”.
CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) Pat Dawson welcomed the news that travellers into Ireland will be required to have a negative Covid-19 test prior to arrival but said that the travel ban to both countries should not be lifted while the virus is “out of control”.
His comments come ahead of a Cabinet meeting today which is set to consider a raft of tighter public health restrictions following a meeting of the Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 which discussed and agreed on the new restrictions on Tuesday evening.
It is proposed that arrivals to Ireland must have a negative Covid-19 test within the previous 72 hours, a new restriction which will come into force from Saturday for travellers from Britain and South Africa as the travel ban with both countries is lifted.
“I don’t think the travel ban should be lifted for the moment because there's neither control in the UK or control in our country on the virus at the moment,” he said.
He said that although the incidence of the virus being brought into the country through airports is “very low”, that it now has to be “all backs against the wall” during the current Level 5 lockdown in order to get the virus under control again.
“Sadly, as we all know, the virus is out of control at the moment and it's up to all of us to turn this around as a people and as a country,” he said.
Mr Dawson said he would hope to see people travelling again in the long-term, having received the vaccine, and said that the number of people being vaccinated in the country “has to be stepped up”.
“The numbers of people being vaccinated will have to be stepped up, even if the army has to be taken in. We need manpower wherever we can get it to get the vaccine out because that’s the only solution, there are no other solutions,” he said.