Close contacts of airline passengers with Covid will no longer be routinely traced

Close contacts of an airline passenger who tests positive for Covid-19 will no longer be routinely traced.

he system of tracing, which was in place, ended on September 8, according to new guidance.

It may still happen in some circumstances after a public health assessment.

These could include instances where there are more than then unrelated Covid-19 cases on a flight among people who are not connected and not travelling as a family or group.

Contact tracing is also likely if highly vulnerable groups could have been exposed or where there a one or more new variants of concern or variants of interest involved.

Infected people coming here from abroad were cited as among the main reasons the virus was brought into Ireland at the beginning of the pandemic.

At that point several people who had been in Italy in particular were unknowingly infected and tested positive here having already unwittingly passed on the virus to others.

It meant that throughout the pandemic the close contacts of an airline passenger were traced.

This led to people who were sitting in the next two seats or rows being contacted and asked to have a test as well as restrict movements for up to ten days.

In cases where several cases of the virus were confirmed in passengers the contact tracing was more extensive.

Non-essential travel has been allowed since the middle of July with precautions such as proof of full vaccination, immunity through previous infection or a clear PCR test.

A number of designated countries remain on the mandatory quarantine list.

Since July there have been around 41 outbreaks linked to travel.

The most recent report on Covid-19 for last week show there were no travel-related outbreaks where the virus was passed on from one person to another.

There were 306 cases linked to travel where the virus was picked up abroad.

The European Centre for Disease Control advises people that standard prevention measures to control the spread of Covid-19 are also recommended during travel.

These include:

Not travelling if exhibiting Covid-19 like symptoms.

Ensuring physical distancing (ideally keeping a distance of two metres from others), strict hand hygiene (washing hands with soap and water regularly and/or using alcohol-based hand sanitisers).

Respiratory etiquette (coughing and sneezing into a tissue or elbow).

The use of face masks in any conveyance, or in situations where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Travellers who develop any symptoms compatible with Covid019 during or after travel should self-isolate and seek medical advice from their healthcare provider or the national public health authorities, mentioning their travel history.

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