Ban on inter-county travel proposed to contain Delta surge in Ireland

Ban on inter-county travel proposed to contain Delta surge in Ireland

INTER-COUNTY travel could be off the cards again soon as health experts scramble to find ways of reducing the spread of Covid-19 in Ireland.

With Delta variant case numbers continuing to surge, a professor from University College Cork has proposed that Ireland reintroduces the ban on travel between counties.

Professor Gerry Killeen, co-founder of the Independent Scientific Advocacy group (ISAG), insists that the government must consider the ban again, at least for areas of the country where case numbers are high.

Given that international travel and indoor hospitality will be returning soon, Prof Killeen stressed that it was imperative to take action quickly.

"React locally, at a minimum, before we have found ourselves in trouble nationally," he said.

"I would hope we would be able to keep some key elements of our outdoor summer, you know, that kids would still be able to go to the GAA clubs.

"But we would need inter-county travel [banned], at least around those large outbreak areas."

It comes following news that 994 new cases of Covid-19 were identified in Ireland on Thursday - the highest daily figure since early February at the height of the third wave.

The number of hospitalisations due to Covid-19 has increased by nearly a third in the last week too.

Leo Varadkar

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar admitted that it was "not yet possible" to completely rule out brining in new restrictions to deal with the rise in Delta variant cases.

ISAG advocates for a zero-covid approach, which aims to completely eliminate the virus with strict regulation around managing outbreaks, isolation and quarantine.

Critics of the strategy argue that it's virtually impossible to completely eliminate the virus, even at a local level, and that attempting to do so could lead to years of restrictions.