Professor suggests Garda checkpoints at Irish border to halt spread of Delta variant 1 month ago

Professor suggests Garda checkpoints at Irish border to halt spread of Delta variant

"There's no other real alternative if we want to reduce travel."

Julien Mercille, an Associate Professor at University College Dublin has suggested the use of Garda checkpoints at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland to halt the spread of the Delta Covid-19 variant.

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He said that limiting travel between the border due to high case numbers in the North may be useful in preventing the spread of the virus, adding that when outbreaks occur it's important to "isolate that region as much as possible".

The Independent Scientific Advocacy Group member told Newstalk on Sunday that experts want to prevent the high cases in the North from further "spilling over" to the rest of the country.

"When you have outbreaks in any region, you want to isolate that region as much as possible so the infections don't spill over to other regions," he said.

"In the case of Northern Ireland, if we have high cases there, as we do, we want to make sure that they're not spilling over.

"The question becomes how to prevent travel cross border or areas say like Donegal and other areas in the Republic.

"Sometimes it's better to just isolate those cases that are in the Republic but so close to the North."

The professor added that while he would like to see "movement restrictions" introduced, "we cannot seal the border 100%".

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"We want movement restrictions, of course, we cannot seal the border 100% but we can really reduce traffic," he said.

Mercille added that while establishing "bubbles" or "a strong message by the political leadership" could also prevent people from crossing the border, there is "no real alternative" to Garda checkpoints when it comes to reducing travel.

"Apart from that, we're talking about Garda checkpoints and those types of measures, there's no other real alternative if we want to reduce travel," he said.

Cases across the country have continued to rise over the past number of weeks.

On Saturday, 1,345 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in Ireland, 105 of which were hospitalised, with 21 in intensive care units.

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