Both Aer Lingus and Ryanair will be cancelling many flights in the coming days. RollingNews.ie photo.
By Anthony Neeson
The Republic of Ireland’s open border with the United Kingdom is the reason for Ireland now being included in the U.S. travel ban.
A travel ban for all flights was first announced for other European countries last week. However Ireland and the UK were initially exempted.
A subsequent presidential proclamation later stated: “The Republic of Ireland has an open border with the United Kingdom in that persons can generally move freely between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.”
The statement added: “The potential for undetected transmission of the virus by infected individuals seeking to enter the United States from the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland threatens the security of our transportation system and infrastructure and the national security.”
The cancellation of flights between Ireland and the United States is only part of a wider problem now facing the Irish aviation industry.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has advised against all non-essential travel to the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Malta, Poland and Slovakia. Holidaymakers have until midnight on Thursday to return home before flights to Spain are cancelled.
Ryanair and Aer Lingus had already cancelled flights to Italy after that country went into lockdown.
With the situation in Ireland changing by the hour, the republic’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Tony Holohan, said that the next seven days are “vital” in the country’s ongoing battle with coronavirus.
“The next seven days are vital. Now is the time to #FlattenTheCurve,” he said on Twitter.
On Sunday, Holohan called on people to heed the public health warnings, particularly around St. Patrick’s Day.
“The virus is now in our community, it is up to us to limit its spread. Now is the time for action and to heed the public health advice we will continue to provide.”
Rachel Kenna, Deputy Chief Nurse with the Department of Health added: “If all citizens work together and comply with social distancing guidelines, and other measures the Government may take in the coming weeks, we will have a stronger response to this virus. Help our healthcare workers in their task.”