Stephen Donnelly says Ireland is to introduce random testing at airports 1 month ago

Stephen Donnelly says Ireland is to introduce random testing at airports

Donnelly said the international situation is "becoming more volatile."

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said the government will implement random testing for Covid-19 at Irish airports.

Donnelly told RTÉ's This Week the measure was being introduced due to the volatility of the virus in some other countries.

"We're introducing random testing at the airports and an increased public health presence and we're examining other options as well for further restrictions on non-essential travel," Donnelly said.

He added "the international situation is becoming more volatile."

Donnelly also said that Ireland has the most restrictive foreign travel measures of any EU country.

He said what concerns the public health doctors at the moment is not the cases they know about but rather the community transmission. This means that people are coming forward and public health officials do not know where they contracted the virus.

At the moment, there is community transmission in Dublin, Mayo, Galway, Cavan and Meath.

Donnelly said he is expecting the announcement from the Department of Health to have cases in the "50s or 60s" today.

There are serious concerns over the rising number of cases in Ireland over the past few days with 168 new cases of the virus in the last three days alone.

There were just 65 cases in the three days before that.

"We have closely followed public health advice, both this government and the previous government, and that has served the country very  well," Donnelly said.

"Certainly the number one focus is getting the schools reopened, obviously it's protecting public health on a day to day basis.

"But we're focused very closely on getting the schools reopened," he added.

The National Public Health Emergency team is due to give its recommendations to the government this week and according to Donnelly, will "look at all options" regarding the opening of pubs.

Donnelly said he sympathised with the plight of pub owners but said the government will follow the public health advice in this regard.