Coronavirus has caused more than 10,000 cases in Europe, spread out over some of the continent’s most populous countries, with pathways into several others nearby. Italy, which has seen the most infections, has now shut down, with thousands of flights cancelled going into the country.
Is it safe to travel to Ireland?
Coronavirus cases are steadily increasing in the UK, which has seen 386 cases, giving COVID-19 a potential avenue into Ireland.
However, Ireland’s government has reported few infections, with just 34 as of March 11.
Northern Ireland has seen less than half, with 16 cases in the region overall.
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The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently does not advise against travel into either country, instead urging people to follow local guidance.
The FCO said: “There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in China, but cases have been confirmed in other countries, including Ireland.
“The Irish authorities have introduced a number of measures to limit the spread of the virus.
“This has included the cancellation of the Dublin St Patrick’s Day Parade on 17 March, with many other St Patrick’s Day events across the country cancelled as well.”
Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) said Ireland is currently in the containment phase of its coronavirus plan.
Much like the UK government, Ireland is focussing on “identifying and containing” cases as they develop.
The government had advised people returning from affected countries, including Italy, Iran, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea to immediately self isolate and call their GP if they experience symptoms.
They have asked people who have returned from these countries but do not have symptoms to visit HSE.ie.
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The government has said “socially restrictive” actions are not necessary at this stage.
But Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at Department of Health, said there is “no room for complacency”.
He said: “98 percent of all suspected cases in Ireland have tested negative.
“While Ireland remains in containment phase, there is no room for complacency.
“We all have a part to play in limiting and slowing the spread of this disease.”
Are there still flights to Ireland?
As Ireland is yet to lock down or experience any significant caseloads, airlines have not suspended flights into the country.
Instead, airlines in the country have halted flights to some parts of Europe.
Ryanair has cancelled all of its flights to Italy while it is on lockdown until April 8, while Are Lingus has done the same until April 3.
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