By Ellen O’Riordan
The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, has advised Irish people living abroad not to plan to travel home this Christmas. Christmas visits are regarded as non-essential travel and are not recommended and could risk importing Covid-19 into Ireland. Although Clare Cox is disappointed she won’t be home in Lisacul from Australia this Christmas, she believes travelling home would pose a “huge risk” to public health.
“I would give anything to be with the rest of my family, all of my nieces and nephews for Christmas but I completely understand why it cannot happen,” she said.
She added that it would be a “huge risk for everyone to take and it would be safer not to travel at this current time”.
“Christmas will be really hard especially since we are the only ones missing from the family this year,” she added.
Also deterring Clare and her family is the compulsory two-weeks quarantine in a hotel in Brisbane upon return. This measure is at the expense of the flyer and she estimates it would cost €2,000 per person.
Fortunately, cases have been low in Queensland, Australia, where Clare and her family have lived for 11 years.
Having returned to Ireland at the end of February 2020, Clare feels lucky she has at least been able to see her Roscommon family this year.
“We were very fortunate to have had this special time at home. Covid-19 started to get really bad when we were due to fly back to Australia. Luckily for us, we were nearly one of the last flights to fly,” she said.
Being the only member of her family not in Roscommon this Christmas will be “tough… but unfortunately it has to be done”, Clare said.
She is holding out hope that she will be able to fly home in October 2021 to celebrate her sister’s wedding.