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Calling in air support? June 26, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I was impressed for once on the comments BTL on this piece by Sean Doyle, chief executive of Aer Lingus, who is imploring the government to lift the fourteen day quarantine on air passengers. There’s some sensible thoughts amongst the comments about how having gone through three months of restrictions it makes very little sense to risk undermining the gains made for the sake of, well what, precisely? Doyle of course, as with others, continues to overstate the the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Commission guidelines which actually call for strong social distancing on flights, albeit resile at demanding same. I think we can safely assume such distancing will not exist in practice. This is not to ignore the impact of the quarantine and other measures:

Crucially, it has also had regard to the critical importance of the aviation sector to the Irish economy. Together with tourism, aviation supports €17.6 billion of GDP annually and provides employment to 140,000 people in the Irish economy. As an island economy, Ireland has a huge reliance on the connectivity and mobility that aviation provides. Given the catastrophic impact the coronavirus crisis is having on the economy, the restoration of air services is urgently needed to help our economic recovery and boost employment.

But Doyle cannot offer a clear way forward that reduces risks at this point to acceptable levels because, in truth, there is no clear way forward in that regard. But as with other calls to lift restrictions the following sits oddly:

Ireland’s reluctance to act on the recommendations of the commission is baffling on a number of fronts. Firstly, there has been significant success across Europe in containing the virus, with very low average daily growth rates in each country. From a comparative perspective, the level of success in containing and controlling the spread of the virus in these European countries is equivalent.

Yet one need only see how in a range of places in Europe the virus is appearing again (let’s not even consider the situation across the Irish Sea). Indeed you can read in the Guardian the following very sobering report.

Ten countries currently facing serious increases in coronavirus infections are among those nations with less stringent approaches to managing their outbreaks.

Guardian analysis of coronavirus data, in combination with the University of Oxford’s coronavirus government response tracker, has identified that 10 of the 45 most badly-affected countries are also among those rated as having a “relaxed response” to the pandemic, underlining the mitigating impact of effective government public health policies.

The countries include the US – which is experiencing its largest increase in coronavirus cases since April; Iran, Germany and Switzerland – two European countries where the R rate has risen above one this week.

And in the IT, Gabriel Scally Honorary Professor of Public Health at University of Bristol, notes:

There are calls for the relaxation of quarantine from citizens who want to spend summer holidays abroad, from business people who feel personal travel is crucial to their success, and particularly from the travel and airline industry which generates substantial employment and of which Ireland is justifiably proud.

The international airline industry, working with the main European public health body, has come up with proposals which, they believe, can enable everyone to fly safely. Even if this was to be entirely correct, it does not in any way minimise the basic problem of possible importation of new cases of the infection from countries, covering most of the world, which have not yet got anywhere near containing the spread of this deadly disease.

The impossibility of the adoption of a uniform position towards loosening of quarantine measures is illustrated by the comparative position of Scotland and England. In Scotland there has been substantial progress and they now have a very low level of deaths and few new positive cases. The signs are hopeful that they may decide to press on towards full elimination of the virus.

And his conclusion:

There is much work to be done to get the economy in Ireland up and running again, to deal with all of the people needing healthcare who have been unable over the past few months to get the investigations or treatment that they need, and also to enjoy time participating in sport and cultural activities. Continued restriction on international travel is a small price to pay not only to preserve the ground that has been gained, but to prevent avoidable outbreaks or even a second wave of new infections and deaths.

Difficult to disagree.


1. tomasoflatharta - June 26, 2020

Patricia King, ICTU General Secretary, is part of Minister Shane Ross’s taskforce, promoting the interests of profit-hungry airlines anxious to loosen necessary coronavirus health restrictions. Very little protest about this. https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/06/25/a-controversial-quarantine-cedar-lounge-revolution/


WorldbyStorm - June 26, 2020

It’s a odd fit

Liked by 1 person

EWI - June 26, 2020

I heard her get up at a recent small event and defend austerity to the hilt, complete with anecdotes about ‘people don’t know’ what was threatened (by a govt in which Labour was a coalition partner!) and how much she personally suffered from random members accosting her over it.

I assume that like so many other top trade unionists, she’s a Labour activist and therefore invested in defending them. Wasn’t at all impressed.

Liked by 1 person

2. tafkaGW - June 26, 2020

This flying to faraway places for a holiday has to stop.

Ireland should be promoting indigenous and reachable-by-ferry and public transport tourism instead.

Since the latter includes mainly Covid19-Hotspot Brexitania, keep that shit shut down for now as well.

Liked by 2 people

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