Multiple countries have begun informing their abroad citizens to return home amidst the coronavirus outbreak. These warning extended to the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, who requested that all tourists located in Spain and across the European Union return home immediately. This is because the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Ireland will begin limiting flights shortly. Emergency measures on international flights were slated to start on March 19th but have been extended following the number of Irish citizens abroad. Ryanair and Air Lingus are working in correlation with Spanish Authorities to ensure that citizens return home safely.
There are thousands of Irish Citizens located in other nations across the European Union. Consular queries with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs have exceeded 1000 calls per-day. The highest valuations of calls at one time was 1800, with half being permitted for completion. This is because of limited representatives available amidst the panic, with 40% of the standard workforce being subjected to self-isolation from home. It should be noted that the overwhelming number of calls came from Spain and Cruise Liners, with these vessels unsure where docking will be permitted.
Backpacking Irish Citizens
Logistical challenges for the Irish Department of Affairs extend to backpackers in unique locations that require immediate access home. Groups of citizens are located across South America and Asia, with direct assistance needed to ensure personal safety. Acquiring access into South America or Asia has been challenging amidst travelling restrictions, limiting the Irish Government in their capabilities to return citizens home. It’s expected that unique agreements amongst South American Government, Asian Politicians and Irish Officials will ensue to guarantee safe travel.
This could include imposing the highest level of social distancing, meaning CDC Suits are to be worn. Sanitation strategies will also be employed. It should be mentioned that the Irish Department of Affairs is employing additional staff to ensure safety for abroad citizens. These phone lines with the department are available through 8 am to 10 pm daily, with confirmation on returning flights not being made. Financial aid could be provided to these travellers in the meantime until travel restrictions are lifted. This would ensure their safety within Spain, Asia or South America.