Quarantine policy is irrational

 

Sir, – Thousands of Irish citizens in the United States have been waiting patiently for widespread vaccination to allow us to travel home to see our families. Ignoring scientific evidence regarding the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines, the Irish Government has implemented its most draconian restrictions to date, making travel there essentially impossible for all Irish migrants, regardless of whether in full-time employment or struggling in the face of the disruptions caused by the pandemic. In contrast and based on scientific evidence, the US Centers for Disease Control earlier this week removed the requirement to quarantine for anyone who has been fully vaccinated travelling to the US from an international destination. While markedly increasing the difficulty for migrants in the US, despite dissemination of highly effective vaccines here, no quarantine is being implemented by the Irish Government for those visiting Ireland from the UK, regardless of vaccination.

One goal of vaccination is to allow safe reopening of our societies and economies. The Irish Government, however, has taken the opposite approach by effectively locking out migrants and potential visitors to Ireland who have been vaccinated. The emotional hardship of this decision is well-illustrated in the experience of the healthcare worker from Qatar who was unable to attend her brother’s funeral although fully vaccinated (News, April 10th). The economic consequences are obvious. While tourism elsewhere internationally may thrive later this year, the Government’s decision will ensure that Irish tourism will get left behind in 2021 and likely for years to come.

The Irish Government needs to look outward and forward, integrate evolving scientific and medical evidence, start planning for the future, and transition from irrational, misinformed policies towards those that provide opportunities for its citizens as well as hope for its disenfranchised emigrants. – Yours, etc,

Prof RUTH O’REGAN,

Chair of Medicine

and Physician-in-Chief,

Strong Memorial Hospital,

University of Rochester,

New York;

Prof MUREDACH REILLY,

Director of the Irving

Institute,

Columbia University,

New York.