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Travel trouble People arriving into Ireland should quarantine for two weeks, health expert says

Professor McConkey also said January 6 would be too late to reintroduce restrictions on inter-county travel following the recent easing of measures.

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Prof Sam McConkey

Prof Sam McConkey

Prof Sam McConkey

People arriving here from abroad should be subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine, one of the country’s top infectious diseases expert has said. 

Professor Sam McConkey suggested the Government should now consider using hotels to accommodate them, in a “less draconian” move than the complete ban on travel from Britain.

Professor McConkey, the head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at RCSI, told Newstalk Breakfast that using hotels for that purpose could also help the industry over the coming months.

"Restricting travel is unprecedented,” he said. “that's a whole new thing we've never done. What maybe we could do is start re-profiling hotels, to allow people to do mandatory 14-day isolation.

"We can't keep up the no travel forever,” he added, “we have to travel for various reasons on our little island."

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Darren Somers holds a swab at a drive-thru Covid-19 testing facility at Dublin Airport (Brian Lawless/PA)

Darren Somers holds a swab at a drive-thru Covid-19 testing facility at Dublin Airport (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA

Darren Somers holds a swab at a drive-thru Covid-19 testing facility at Dublin Airport (Brian Lawless/PA)

Professor McConkey also said January 6 would be too late to reintroduce restrictions on inter-county travel following the recent easing of measures.

He has proposed instead, a “zero Covid” approach, which would involve tougher restrictions to include the closure of schools.

"Vaccination will take nine-12 months,” he said. "The companies just can't make enough. I see some time between September and December of 2021 when it's widely available to everyone. That's a long time away, so that's why we need a zero Covid approach."

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