Coronavirus: Irish government to introduce random testing at airports

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Random coronavirus testing will be introduced at airports in the Republic of Ireland, the country’s health minister has said.

Speaking to RTÉ’s This Week program, Stephen Donnelly said the move was necessary because “the international situation is becoming increasingly volatile.”

He said passenger tracking forms were being made electronically and search teams needed to be “regrouped”.

Mr. Donnelly said the government would continue to take “a cautious approach”.

The Republic of Ireland has seen a recent increase in the number of coronavirus cases.

In the past three days, the country’s health department recorded 168 new cases of the virus, up from 65 cases the previous three days.

“We are introducing random testing at airports and an increased public health presence,” Donnelly said.

‘Concerned about the peak’

He said the government was also examining other options for new restrictions on non-essential travel.

When asked if Ireland is doing anything differently than other countries seeing a resurgence of the virus, Mr Donnelly told the program that in terms of overseas travel, Ireland has the most measures restrictive from all EU countries.

Mr Donnelly said he was concerned about the spike in cases and that the government was closely monitoring cases.

Anyone entering the Republic of Ireland, except Northern Ireland, is required to restrict movement for 14 days.

Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Robin Swann previously expressed concern over how visitors from countries at high risk of Covid-19 are monitored after crossing the Irish border.

Mr Donnelly also said officials would examine “all options” for reopening pubs at his Tuesday meeting, with a view to keeping the reopening of schools on track.

Pubs that don’t serve food are due to reopen on August 10, and Mr Donnelly said the government would make a decision based on advice from the national public health emergency team and did not want to prejudge what she advises.

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