Thursday, 24 September 2020

Questions (89)

Brendan Smith


89. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Transport if adequate checks are taking place at airports and ports in relation to dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26263/20]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Department of Health, as the lead Government Department in relation to Ireland’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, established the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) on 27 January 2020, chaired by the Chief Medical Officer. The NPHET oversees and provides advice on the development and implementation of the strategy to contain Covid-19 in Ireland and measures to protect public health and my Department assists with the implementation of these measures.

It is also worth noting that specific sectoral protocols for the travel by air and sea have been developed in consultation with the public health authorities and with industry, who are already implementing the measures. The protocols set out the expectations and requirements on industry to ensure safety of passengers, staff and crew as regards public health and include key requirements such as health declarations by passengers at check-in; allowing only passengers intending to travel to enter airports or ferry terminal buildings; physical distancing and the wearing of face coverings by passengers and staff and increased sanitation measures in relation to aircraft, airports, passenger vessels and ports. Further information is available here

Everyone arriving into the country, by air and sea, regardless of where they come from, is required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form. The form must be completed online during the 48 hours prior to arrival and allows incoming passengers to be directly informed on the public health advice and also supports contact tracing in event of a passenger testing positive for COVID-19.

Responsibility for the Passenger Locator Form and the follow up calls is a matter for the Department of Health. However, I am aware that all passengers who complete the electronic form receive an email receipt which includes key public health messages. After arrival to Ireland, passengers receive public health messages via SMS. Passengers arriving from non-green list countries receive three additional public health messages via SMS throughout the next 14 days. A selection of arriving passengers also receive follow-up calls to verify information provided on the forms.

My Department engages with carriers, airports and ports in relation to raising awareness among passengers of the mandatory requirement for passengers arriving into the country to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form.