'Risk of importing significant Covid-19 infections': Waterford TD calls for airport Covid-19 testing

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'Risk of importing significant Covid-19 infections': Waterford TD calls for airport Covid-19 testing

Waterford TD Matt Shanahan is calling for immediate Covid-19 testing at airports

Waterford TD Matt Shanahan is calling for immediate Covid-19 swab testing to be conducted on incoming passengers at Dublin Airport and other Irish airports.

A member of the Regional Independent group, Deputy Shanahan says Ireland is at risk of "importing significant Covid-19 infections", particularly where passengers have started their journeys in areas that have higher infection rates. 

"Our understanding and ability to turnaround Covid-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests has improved substantially since this outbreak began and we now have available laboratory capacity in both the private and public sectors that can return test results in 24 hours," he says. 

The Waterford TD outlines that it should be perfectly feasible for incoming passengers to book one night accommodation adjacent to the airport and seek clearance to travel the next day. "Irish residents returning home should be allowed travel onto their destination and await results. Those who test negative for the illness should be allowed onward travel without the need to isolate for two weeks and just observe our social distance guidelines. Those who test positive will need to isolate in managed accommodation," he continues.

Deputy Shanahan says the Regional Independent Group was the first political grouping to call for the wearing of face masks  where social distance was an issue, which is now to become a specific infection prevention measure adopted by National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). "I was the first to call for nursing home swabs to be taken by in-house care managers, which has also been adopted as preferred procedure by NPHET. Testing at our airport is technically feasible, will remove the 14-day isolation period and will help to reduce infection risk from abroad. I and other members of the regional group are calling for this initiative to be agreed and implemented as quickly as possible," he adds.