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200,000 Travellers in 5 months Who Filled in a Passenger Locator Form not Followed up by the State - Tóibín

Note.

Please see PQs below


Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has expressed his anger at what he called the "slip shod attitude of the government to international travel, testing and tracing at our airports. Deputy Tóibín was speaking after data released to him revealed that hundreds of thousands of people who arrived in our airports since August went untested and were not followed up withDeputy Tóibín said:


"The Minister for Health has revealed to me, following a written question, that between 26th August 2020 and 7th January 2021, some 712,000 passenger locator forms have been completed. This means that at least 712,000 people have entered our country in the past few months. The Minister has also revealed to me that a mere 508,000 of them have been contacted either by way of phonecall or text message. This means 204,000 people who arrived on our shores have not been followed up with. Given that 63% of all Covid Cases in the state are now the British Variant which arrived here during this time period I have no doubt that the lax attitude of this government to international travel has led directly to the widescale damage to health and society”.


Deputy Tóibín continued: "I recently asked the Minister for Transport if he could tell me how many tests had been conducted at airports. His response is also frightening - in the same time period which saw 712,000 passengers fill out locator forms, a mere 38,400 Covid-19 tests were booked in Dublin and Cork airports. As of 12th January, a total of 2,600 Covid tests had been carried out at Shannon Airport since the start of the pandemic!"


"These figures are frightening. We in Aontú have been calling for more testing, tracing and quarantine for passengers arriving into Ireland, since the very start of the pandemic. I have been shocked at the government’s reluctance to protect our ports and airports. At the start of the pandemic, they flat out refused to ban flights from northern Italy. There is no doubt in my mind that these downfalls in terms of testing and tracing have lead to more transmission and more deaths. The mind boggles. We need to test and quarantine all passengers arriving in Ireland. Anything else will leave Ireland exposed again. CRIOCH


PQs


To ask the Minister for Health the number of persons who have travelled to Ireland by air and by sea for each of the past five months; the number who filled a passenger locator form in each of the past five months; the number who completed a passenger locator form that were contacted within 14 days for each of the past five months; and the number who travelled here who can be confirmed were adhering 100% to self-isolation in each of the past five months.

REPLY

There have been approximately 712,000 Passenger Locator Forms completed by passengers arriving into Ireland since the electronic PLF was introduced on 26th August 2020 to 7th January. A call centre was set up to manage the PLF data.

508,000 passengers who completed electronic PLF’s and those who completed a valid paper version of the form have all been contacted and have received public health messages. The PLF is used to support an enhanced system of engagements with arriving passengers including the targeting of public health messages via SMS. Passengers are contacted to verify the place of address provided on the form. This is done via interactive SMS with follow up phone calls as appropriate. 1.3 million public health SMS messages approximately were issued between 26th August to 7thJanuary.

From the outset of the pandemic, Ireland’s approach to international travel has been centred on advisory public health measures with the exception of the PLF, which has been a mandatory requirement for arriving passengers to complete. The PLF allows for targeted public health messaging and assists contact tracing purposes.

The detailed monthly figures requested by the Deputy have been requested from the PLF contact centre and this will be provided to the Deputy once available



______________________________________________

For Written Answer on : 20/01/2021

Question Number: 93 Question Reference: 2561/21

Department: Transport

Asked by: Peadar Tóibín T.D.

______________________________________________





QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Transport the number of persons who have completed a PCR test at each airport and port here in each of the past five months.


REPLY

The Government decision of 20 October affirms that any testing model implemented for international travel should not impinge on HSE testing capacity. In light of this, the State Airports have facilitated the location of private testing providers at Cork, Shannon and Dublin Airports. The testing facilities in question are open to any member of the public requesting a Covid-19 test, whether travelling or not.

Neither the State Airports nor my Department have any operational role in the provision of the testing services.

The daa facilitates two commercial companies – Randox and RocDoc - to operate separate Covid-19 testing facilities at Dublin and Cork airports. RocDoc provide services at Shannon Airport also. These testing service providers have advised daa and the Shannon Airport Authority concerning headline figures for testing to date, including pre-departures, post-arrivals tests and other non-travel tests.

There have been a total of 38,400 bookings for Covid-19 tests up to January 3rd across both service providers since testing facilities opened in November at Cork Airport and Dublin Airport. These figures relate to bookings for pre-departures, post-arrivals tests and other non-travel tests. In the region of 2,600 Covid-19 tests have been carried out by the private testing provider located at Shannon Airport up to 12 January 2021.

It should be noted that the estimated figures I have provided do not reflect the full extent of Covid-19 testing for prospective arriving passengers, given that many other commercial providers outside of the airport’s testing facilities also provide such service.
By Aontú Press | 1 February, 2021



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