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Ireland Has a New Coronavirus Fear: Americans Who Flout Quarantine Ireland Has a New Coronavirus Fear: Americans Who Flout Quarantine
(about 1 hour later)
Janet Cavanagh, whose electric bike tour company offers a guided glimpse of western Ireland’s windswept landscape, saw her business come to a swift halt — along with nearly everything else — as the coronavirus pandemic forced the country into lockdown.Janet Cavanagh, whose electric bike tour company offers a guided glimpse of western Ireland’s windswept landscape, saw her business come to a swift halt — along with nearly everything else — as the coronavirus pandemic forced the country into lockdown.
She recently reopened her doors, eager to restart business and make up for lost time as restrictions eased.She recently reopened her doors, eager to restart business and make up for lost time as restrictions eased.
But she and a number of other business owners say that Ireland faces a new and unexpected threat: Tourists, particularly American ones, who flout Ireland’s quarantine rule.But she and a number of other business owners say that Ireland faces a new and unexpected threat: Tourists, particularly American ones, who flout Ireland’s quarantine rule.
With the pandemic still raging unabated in much of the United States, unlike in Europe, Americans are among those most likely to be infected. They aren’t the only tourists ignoring the requirement that people arriving in Ireland isolate themselves for 14 days, but most of the public complaints involve Americans.With the pandemic still raging unabated in much of the United States, unlike in Europe, Americans are among those most likely to be infected. They aren’t the only tourists ignoring the requirement that people arriving in Ireland isolate themselves for 14 days, but most of the public complaints involve Americans.
Last weekend, Ms. Cavanagh canceled a guided tour for two people who had just arrived from the United States and didn’t think Ireland’s travel quarantine applied to them. She said she felt the responsibility to turn them away for the safety of her staff and community.Last weekend, Ms. Cavanagh canceled a guided tour for two people who had just arrived from the United States and didn’t think Ireland’s travel quarantine applied to them. She said she felt the responsibility to turn them away for the safety of her staff and community.
“You don’t want to be responsible for endangering anybody here, because you have to live here,” she said, adding that it was simply not worth the risk.“You don’t want to be responsible for endangering anybody here, because you have to live here,” she said, adding that it was simply not worth the risk.
Simon Haden, the owner of Gregans Castle Hotel in County Clare, in the west of Ireland, said he recently received a call from Americans who wanted to book a reservation in his restaurant soon after arriving, and who had no plans to quarantine. He explained the situation to them, and turned them away.Simon Haden, the owner of Gregans Castle Hotel in County Clare, in the west of Ireland, said he recently received a call from Americans who wanted to book a reservation in his restaurant soon after arriving, and who had no plans to quarantine. He explained the situation to them, and turned them away.
In recent days, dozens of Irish businesses — tour operators, restaurateurs and pub owners — have posted on social media similar stories about fending off customers who had just landed in the country but were ignoring directions to self-isolate. A national radio station interviewed Americans arriving at Dublin airport, some of whom said they had no plans to quarantine.In recent days, dozens of Irish businesses — tour operators, restaurateurs and pub owners — have posted on social media similar stories about fending off customers who had just landed in the country but were ignoring directions to self-isolate. A national radio station interviewed Americans arriving at Dublin airport, some of whom said they had no plans to quarantine.
That has ignited a national conversation about whether the government, which does not monitor compliance with the isolation order or penalize violators, should start enforcing it.That has ignited a national conversation about whether the government, which does not monitor compliance with the isolation order or penalize violators, should start enforcing it.
Many people in Ireland say the government should be tougher about preventing travelers from bringing the virus into the country, but the government has tried to tamp down that concern. The Irish leader, or taoiseach, Micheal Martin, told Parliament on Tuesday that while there had been much conversation about American tourists, “the numbers are quite low coming in from the U.S.”Many people in Ireland say the government should be tougher about preventing travelers from bringing the virus into the country, but the government has tried to tamp down that concern. The Irish leader, or taoiseach, Micheal Martin, told Parliament on Tuesday that while there had been much conversation about American tourists, “the numbers are quite low coming in from the U.S.”
Simon Coveney, the foreign affairs minister, acknowledged on Monday that there was evidence of visitors who had ignored quarantine laws in the country. But he said just 200 to 250 people a day had arrived in Ireland from the United States, most of whom he described as “Irish people coming home.”Simon Coveney, the foreign affairs minister, acknowledged on Monday that there was evidence of visitors who had ignored quarantine laws in the country. But he said just 200 to 250 people a day had arrived in Ireland from the United States, most of whom he described as “Irish people coming home.”
“We need to put this in perspective,” he said, but he added that “people should not be coming to Ireland if they can’t restrict their movement.”“We need to put this in perspective,” he said, but he added that “people should not be coming to Ireland if they can’t restrict their movement.”
The issue has created a painful paradox for suffering business owners who rely heavily on American customers but feel compelled to turn them away. Visitors from the United States are usually the largest source of tourism revenue on the island of Ireland — both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom — accounting for 28 percent of foreign spending in 2018, according to Tourism Ireland.The issue has created a painful paradox for suffering business owners who rely heavily on American customers but feel compelled to turn them away. Visitors from the United States are usually the largest source of tourism revenue on the island of Ireland — both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom — accounting for 28 percent of foreign spending in 2018, according to Tourism Ireland.
“The first thing I want to see is American guests return,” Mr. Haden said. “But not if it’s going to put the health and safety of our guests, our staff, the community under threat after the sacrifices we’ve made.”“The first thing I want to see is American guests return,” Mr. Haden said. “But not if it’s going to put the health and safety of our guests, our staff, the community under threat after the sacrifices we’ve made.”
Those sacrifices included a stringent, monthslong lockdown that drove down the rate of new infections from almost 1,000 a day in mid-April to just 20 per day. Overall, Ireland has had more than 25,000 confirmed cases and 1,746 deaths.Those sacrifices included a stringent, monthslong lockdown that drove down the rate of new infections from almost 1,000 a day in mid-April to just 20 per day. Overall, Ireland has had more than 25,000 confirmed cases and 1,746 deaths.
Ireland’s pubs, restaurants and hotels were finally allowed to reopen on June 29, but under tight regulations that require social distancing and limit the number of patrons at a given time. So just as people in Ireland have begun to move more freely, many of them fear losing the gains they have made.Ireland’s pubs, restaurants and hotels were finally allowed to reopen on June 29, but under tight regulations that require social distancing and limit the number of patrons at a given time. So just as people in Ireland have begun to move more freely, many of them fear losing the gains they have made.
JP McMahon, a well-known, Michelin-starred chef, wrote on Twitter on Saturday night that a group of people from Texas dined at one of his restaurants in Galway, and while he was unclear if they had undertaken a two-week quarantine, staff were “very uncomfortable.”JP McMahon, a well-known, Michelin-starred chef, wrote on Twitter on Saturday night that a group of people from Texas dined at one of his restaurants in Galway, and while he was unclear if they had undertaken a two-week quarantine, staff were “very uncomfortable.”
“This is not just an American problem,” he said in an interview. “We had Germans in today in our cafe who arrived yesterday, who felt that because their country had a low rate of infection it was OK.” He also worries that Irish people returning from abroad will neglect quarantine.“This is not just an American problem,” he said in an interview. “We had Germans in today in our cafe who arrived yesterday, who felt that because their country had a low rate of infection it was OK.” He also worries that Irish people returning from abroad will neglect quarantine.
Mr. McMahon has taken matters into his own hands, saying on Sunday that all international visitors booking into his restaurants would be required to prove their entry date into the country.Mr. McMahon has taken matters into his own hands, saying on Sunday that all international visitors booking into his restaurants would be required to prove their entry date into the country.
Updated July 7, 2020Updated July 7, 2020
The coronavirus can stay aloft for hours in tiny droplets in stagnant air, infecting people as they inhale, mounting scientific evidence suggests. This risk is highest in crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation, and may help explain super-spreading events reported in meatpacking plants, churches and restaurants. It’s unclear how often the virus is spread via these tiny droplets, or aerosols, compared with larger droplets that are expelled when a sick person coughs or sneezes, or transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces, said Linsey Marr, an aerosol expert at Virginia Tech. Aerosols are released even when a person without symptoms exhales, talks or sings, according to Dr. Marr and more than 200 other experts, who have outlined the evidence in an open letter to the World Health Organization.The coronavirus can stay aloft for hours in tiny droplets in stagnant air, infecting people as they inhale, mounting scientific evidence suggests. This risk is highest in crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation, and may help explain super-spreading events reported in meatpacking plants, churches and restaurants. It’s unclear how often the virus is spread via these tiny droplets, or aerosols, compared with larger droplets that are expelled when a sick person coughs or sneezes, or transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces, said Linsey Marr, an aerosol expert at Virginia Tech. Aerosols are released even when a person without symptoms exhales, talks or sings, according to Dr. Marr and more than 200 other experts, who have outlined the evidence in an open letter to the World Health Organization.
Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.
Scientists around the country have tried to identify everyday materials that do a good job of filtering microscopic particles. In recent tests, HEPA furnace filters scored high, as did vacuum cleaner bags, fabric similar to flannel pajamas and those of 600-count pillowcases. Other materials tested included layered coffee filters and scarves and bandannas. These scored lower, but still captured a small percentage of particles.Scientists around the country have tried to identify everyday materials that do a good job of filtering microscopic particles. In recent tests, HEPA furnace filters scored high, as did vacuum cleaner bags, fabric similar to flannel pajamas and those of 600-count pillowcases. Other materials tested included layered coffee filters and scarves and bandannas. These scored lower, but still captured a small percentage of particles.
A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.
The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.
The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.
So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.
Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.
A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.
If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)
If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.
At the height of the coronavirus crisis in Europe, Ireland, a European Union member, did not adopt the bloc’s blanket ban on nonessential travelers from outside it, or the kind of border controls erected by many European countries. Though most of the European Union has resumed allowing in some foreign visitors, it has continued to bar most people from the United States.At the height of the coronavirus crisis in Europe, Ireland, a European Union member, did not adopt the bloc’s blanket ban on nonessential travelers from outside it, or the kind of border controls erected by many European countries. Though most of the European Union has resumed allowing in some foreign visitors, it has continued to bar most people from the United States.
The Irish government merely advises against nonessential travel to the country, but does not prohibit it, a policy set to be reviewed on July 20.The Irish government merely advises against nonessential travel to the country, but does not prohibit it, a policy set to be reviewed on July 20.
Everyone arriving from abroad — visitors, residents and citizens alike — is told to quarantine for 14 days, and must complete a form stating where they will be staying during that time.Everyone arriving from abroad — visitors, residents and citizens alike — is told to quarantine for 14 days, and must complete a form stating where they will be staying during that time.
There are currently no fines for breaking quarantine, but a traveler could face a fine of up to 2,500 euros or imprisonment for up to 6 months for not completing the form upon arrival or providing false or misleading information on it.There are currently no fines for breaking quarantine, but a traveler could face a fine of up to 2,500 euros or imprisonment for up to 6 months for not completing the form upon arrival or providing false or misleading information on it.
Sam McConkey, an associate professor and head of the department of international health and tropical medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), called for a mandatory enforced quarantine to be put in place. Speaking to the national broadcaster RTE, he said it was the only viable option.Sam McConkey, an associate professor and head of the department of international health and tropical medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), called for a mandatory enforced quarantine to be put in place. Speaking to the national broadcaster RTE, he said it was the only viable option.
Some opposition politicians have also called for more extreme measures, including Duncan Smith, the transport spokesman for the Labour party, who on Monday said he wanted to suspend flights from the United States and other areas considered “Covid-19 hot spots” until mandatory testing could be put in place at Irish airports.Some opposition politicians have also called for more extreme measures, including Duncan Smith, the transport spokesman for the Labour party, who on Monday said he wanted to suspend flights from the United States and other areas considered “Covid-19 hot spots” until mandatory testing could be put in place at Irish airports.
Leo Varadkar, the former prime minister who guided the country through the first wave of the pandemic and now serves as the deputy head of government, said a mandatory quarantine “is not possible in Ireland.” Speaking to RTE on Tuesday, he cited legal concerns and pointed to outbreaks at Australia’s quarantine hotels as evidence against such measures. Leo Varadkar, the former leader who guided the country through the first wave of the pandemic and now serves as the deputy head of government, said a mandatory quarantine “is not possible in Ireland.” Speaking to RTE on Tuesday, he cited legal concerns and pointed to outbreaks at Australia’s quarantine hotels as evidence against such measures.
Ms. Cavanagh, who owns E-Whizz bikes in Clare, said in a typical year, around 90 percent of her business would come from the United States. But for now, she has put the thought of profit aside for the sake of safety, urging international travelers to self-isolate for the full two weeks.Ms. Cavanagh, who owns E-Whizz bikes in Clare, said in a typical year, around 90 percent of her business would come from the United States. But for now, she has put the thought of profit aside for the sake of safety, urging international travelers to self-isolate for the full two weeks.
“So unless you have that kind of time to play with, we’d rather you didn’t come because we don’t want you to be mixing around in the community,” she said.“So unless you have that kind of time to play with, we’d rather you didn’t come because we don’t want you to be mixing around in the community,” she said.