Covid-19 and overseas travel

 

Sir, – The Health Protection Surveillance Centre’s daily report dated March 23rd contains data which is very relevant to the current debate about the compulsory isolation of incoming travellers.

Out of 836 confirmed cases reported on March 21st, Austria, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland were sources of infection for 131 cases, and other countries, mainly the UK, accounted for a further 54 cases.

If a reproduction (R) value of three is applied to these cases, then the resultant number of domestic cases would be about 555.

This exceeds the actual number of locally originated cases (543) reported at that time and, arguably, clearly shows how a failure to curtail inward travel in early March resulted in the spread of Covid-19 in Ireland.

Now that we are approaching zero-case status, March’s failure to control inward infection must not be repeated.

Our island status should be exploited by continuing to discourage all non-essential international traffic and adopting compulsory testing and isolation measures on an all-island basis. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN FLANAGAN,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.