The Omicron variant is likely to be already in Ireland, the Health Minister has said today.
Minister Donnelly said that are more than 10 possible Omicron variant cases in the country. The cases have been sent for full genome sequencing. The suspected cases were selected from positive Covid tests as they show what is called an ‘S-gene dropout’ which is linked with variants.
“I think it is likely at this point that we will be identifying cases here in the coming days,” Minister Donnelly told Today with Claire Byrne.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is monitoring the variant situation across Europe. NPHET is meeting with the leaders of the Coalition parties on the fast-developing issue today.
While local measures are not being considered yet, Nphet said it was “considering further required measures” as countries move to prevent the spread of Omicron.
An “emergency brake” is currently in place on travel to/from the countries Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
“Regulations are being drawn up urgently to give effect to the new travel and home quarantine policies.”
New variant cases have been reported in the UK, Italy, Germany, and Belgium.