Rapid Covid-19 testing needed at ports – Murphy

Wexford independent deputy, Verona Murphy has called on the government to immediately introduce rapid antigen testing at all the country’s major ports, to help ensure that the supply chain of goods is safeguarded amid rising Covid-19 infection rates.

Expressing concerns on the potential for supply chains to be disrupted, deputy Murphy highlighted an incident which took place a few weeks before Christmas: “We have already experienced problems with ferry workers contracting Covid-19.

“A number of weeks ago, a ship and its crew had to be quarantined off Holyhead for 14 days. This resulted in reduced capacity on some routes, and as a result a number of vehicles were left behind in Rosslare Europort,” she said.

Practical measures

Verona Murphy TD Image source: Facebook

Deputy Murphy explained the potential consequences for the supply chain if Covid-19 were to force ships to quarantine: “We need to take every practical measure to ensure that Covid-19 is not brought onto our ships.

This means passengers need to be rapid tested. If we allow Covid-19 onto ships and crews become infected, it would do serious damage to our ability to keep our supermarket shelves stocked with food and drink.

“Imagine the disruption caused if multiple ships and crews had to quarantine at the same time for two weeks. We do not have spare ships available as short notice replacements,” the independent TD said.

Deputy Murphy, who is a former president of the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA), has appealed to the government to be proactive rather than reactive.

“The government [is] in the habit of letting a crisis develop, rather than taking steps to prevent the crisis from happening. We need to take steps to prevent a supply chain crisis. We need to take these steps immediately,” she concluded.