Government to unveil new Covid-19 plan that is ‘more important than Budget’

A new medium-term Government plan to deal with Covid-19 will be introduced on September 14th, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has told the Dáil.

The Green Party leader said the plan is “as important as if not more important than the Budget to my mind”. He said they had to prepare for the next six, 12, 18 months of the pandemic as he defended the Government’s approach to coronavirus testing and tracing, amid concerns for the growing number of cases of the disease.

Part of the plan will include international travel and he said they were looking at the international experience where they had testing arrangements that “may allow us to waive the requirement for 14 days restriction on travel” when someone comes into the State.

Mr Ryan was responding to Social Democrats joint leader Róisín Shortall who accused the Government of “not playing its part” as the public was foregoing so much of “normal life” and the business community was “paying an enormous price” because of the pandemic.

She said there was a failure to ensure an effective testing and tracing system for proper controls at airports and ports and the Government’s response had been “wholly inadequate”.

The Dublin North-West TD there had also been a failure to provide open information and data and despite the policy of test, trace and isolate she did not believe the State had its claimed capacity for 100,000 tests a week. “That has never been achieved.”