Coronavirus: Irish government to introduce random testing at airports

, Coronavirus: Irish government to introduce random testing at airportsImage copyright

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 programme, Stephen Donnelly said the move was needed because the “international situation is becoming more volatile”.

He said passenger locator forms were being made electronic and tracing teams were to be “bulked up”.

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

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

In the past three days, the country’s Health Department has recorded 168 new cases of the virus, compared with 65 cases in the three days before that.

“We’re introducing random testing at the airports and an increased public health presence,” Mr Donnelly said.

‘Concerned about spike’

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

Asked if Ireland was doing anything differently to other countries seeing a resurgence of the virus, Mr Donnelly told the programme that in terms of foreign travel, Ireland had the most restrictive measures of any EU country.

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

Anyone coming into the Republic of Ireland Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland is required to restrict their movements for 14 days.

Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann has previously express concern about how visitors from Covid-19 high risk countries are monitored after crossing the Irish border.

Mr Donnelly also said officials would look “at all options” regarding the reopening of pubs when it meets on Tuesday, with a view to keeping the reopening of schools on track.

Pubs which do not serve food are due to reopen on 10 August and Mr Donnelly said the government would make a decision based on advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team and that he did not want to prejudge what it advises.

BBC News