Tourists coming to Ireland should be jailed if they don't isolate for 2 weeks - disease expert

Tourists coming to Ireland should be jailed if they don't isolate for 2 weeks - disease expert

TOURISTS arriving in Ireland should be sent to prison if they fail to isolate for the required two-week period according to an expert in diseases.

Professor Sam McConkey, Associate Professor at the Royal College of Surgeons and Head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine (snappy job title, right?), expressed serious concern at the prospect of Ireland opening up its ports, particularly to a vast number of American tourists.

He argued that Ireland's quarantine rules aren't strong enough, and given the severity of the coronavirus crisis in the US at the moment, any tourists coming to Ireland over the coming weeks should be subjected to strict restrictions and rigorous checks.

If they should fail to keep to these rules, they should be jailed.

"We've been almost unique in the world of having open borders to everywhere," Prof McConkey said.

"I understand why that is the case as we are a very small open economy and we really need some people to be able to travel.

"On the other hand we've brought in these restrictions, regulations, the idea of 14-days self isolation.

"There needs to be regulations with teeth so if people don't follow them then you are more or less looking at three months in Mountjoy."

Prof McConkey also warned that American tourists bringing Covid-19 to rural parts of Ireland where the disease hasn't really taken hold at all, could have disastrous consequences.

"The death rates haven't really started to skyrocket [in the US] but it takes four/six/eight weeks for the deaths to come," he added.

"So I'm very pessimistic about how US cities are going to look in a few weeks time.

"I think we certainly don't want folks coming in from there to reinfect especially rural parts of Ireland that haven't had Covid-19 very much," he said.