Simon Harris: Irish citizens advised not to travel overseas
"We need a whole of society effort. We need a national effort. This pandemic can not be wished away."
Minister for Health Simon Harris has urged all Irish citizens not to travel overseas for the foreseeable future as the number of cases of Covid-19 continues to rise.
On Monday (16 March), the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) met regarding the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, making fresh recommendations for the public to follow.
One such measure concerns the significant reduction of movement. As such, the government is strongly advising against non-essential travel overseas until Sunday 29 March at the earliest.
"We need a whole of society effort," said Harris, who is asking retired healthcare workers to consider coming forward to assist with ongoing efforts.
"We need a national effort. This pandemic can not be wished away."
Minister Harris reiterated the call for every suspected case of Covid-19 to be tested, repeating the "test, test, test" message from the World Health Organisation.
Elaborating on what constitutes as "non-essential travel", Tánaiste Simon Coveney underlined that it "effectively means people who are choosing to go overseas and don't need to. They shouldn't be doing it."
Coveney also referred to forthcoming "enormous disruption" over the coming days regarding travel while noting that the measures are being taken for the health and safety of Irish people that he doesn't wish to see stranded across the world.
His comments echoed those of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who announced new guidelines on Monday afternoon including a temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU for 30 days.
The manoeuvre comes with exemptions that apply to long-term residents in the EU, diplomats and family members of EU nationals.
"Essential staff such as doctors, nurses, care workers, researchers and experts that help address the coronavirus should continue to be allowed in the European Union," von der Leyen said.
In Ireland, the NPHET recommends that all citizens re-entering the country from overseas restrict their movements for 14 days if asymptomatic.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stated that the number of Covid-19 cases will rise significantly in the coming weeks.