People who booked overseas trips should not travel due to risk – Holohan

People who have booked overseas trips should not travel at present due to the risk to themselves, families and the wider society, according to chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan.

Asked whether people should cancel their summer holidays abroad, Dr Holohan said public health officials would like them not to travel in their individual interest and in the collective interest.

He urged holidaymakers to think about the risk to themselves, family members and for society. “Think about other people and the risk you might pose even if you [if infected] recover very well, for people who are more vulnerable.”

No new deaths of patients with Covid-19 were reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team on Monday. This leaves the total number of deaths linked to the disease at 1,735.

NPHET also reported another 24 new confirmed cases of the disease at its briefing, bringing the total number of cases to 25,462. Nine of the cases involved people aged under 35.

Dr Holohan said public health officials were beginning to see some “worrying” new trends, with the number of reported cases increasing and some new clusters.

At least six of the new cases are linked to international travel, public health officials said. More than 1.1 million new cases were reported globally last week, they pointed out. In recent days, there has been an “uptick” in cases and this needed to be watched closely.

Some recent clusters of the disease had occurred as a result of people returning from abroad, he said, and were “exactly the kind of thing we’re trying to avoid”.

One recent case had necessitated the testing of more than 20 contacts of a confirmed case, compared with a previous average of two or three, Dr Holohan said.

The case occurred in the northwest, and involved travel to Iraq and back, officials said.

Dr Ronan Glynn, deputy chief medical officer, said: “The risk of imported cases remains high. It’s important that continue to avoid all unnecessary travel at this time.”

Dr Holohan urged people, as they move around more, to use the tools that have helped suppress the virus to date, such as hand-washing, respiratory etiquette and wearing face coverings.