By Sean Moriarty

Kerry Mayor Niall Kelleher is asking all people who have recently returned from abroad to self-isolate to protect those around them.

The Fianna Fail councillor was in America last week when Ireland was put into partial lock down to stop the spread of the current Coronavirus outbreak.

The trip, aimed at connecting Irish and American business and tourism interests, mainly in Chicago, was nine months in the planning, but Mr Kelleher was caught on the wrong side of the Atlantic when the announcement was made last Thursday.

He immediately booked a flight home and once here he put himself in a self-imposed 14-day quarantine as a precaution. He is not ill and is not carrying any signs of the virus.

“Social distancing is the most important thing, and following the HSE guidelines,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “I am doing this as a precaution. Anyone that as been away or been to Cheltenham should be doing the same thing.”

Despite living an isolated life, the Rathmore man is fielding an unprecedented number of calls from people concerned about the current crisis. On Wednesday, he answered 195 calls and countless text messages and emails.

“There is a lot of people in difficult circumstances but I am very encouraged by the levels of volunteerism and care people have for others in their communities. When this will pass we will be able to build our lives again.”