Santa Pause Christmas homecoming flights in doubt as Dr Tony Holohan warns of 'high risks'
Christmas homecomings around the country’s airports are now in doubt as Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan warned the Covid-19 risks around international travel are still “very substantial” at this time.
Dr Holohan also cautioned parents about the risks of children from different families getting together for Halloween parties.
Asked about people travelling home for Christmas and families in different countries reuniting for the festive season, he said no specific consideration by his team has yet been given to it.
“Our advice is that the risk of non-essential travel outside this country is simply too high at this moment.”
The number of travel-related Covid-19 cases here is now very low and the Government has committed to entering into an EU traffic light system for travelling within Europe. But the details around how it will operate here, particularly in relation to testing, remain unclear.
Asked about Halloween parties he said “these things are not going to be possible this year”.
It comes as the Dublin Airport Authority will raise the issue of Christmas homecomings at the Oireachtas Transport Committee.
It will call for a pre-departure testing regime saying: ”We want to welcome our loved ones safely and allow those living here who have not seen families overseas to be reunited.”
There were five more deaths from Covid-19 yesterday and an additional 720 cases, indicating some control over the spread of the virus may now be returning after last week when daily cases were higher than 1,000.
Dr Holohan said however that it is too early to say that “we have turned a corner”.
He said: “We definitely cannot draw a conclusion that there is a trend from the fewer number of cases.”
So far this month, there have been 79 Covid-related deaths and 32 were among nursing home residents. This contrasts with 35 deaths in September and five in August.
Among yesterday’s new cases, 228 were in Dublin, 130 in Cork, 47 in Galway, 31 in Meath, 27 in Limerick The remaining 257 cases are spread across another 20 counties.
The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalised slightly dropped to 341 of whom 38 are in intensive care.
There were 29 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours but the pattern in the second phase of the virus seems to be better flow of patients with a significant number being discharged also.