BREAKING: Latest Covid figures confirmed as CMO expresses concern about Indian variant

BREAKING: Latest Covid figures confirmed as CMO expresses concern about Indian variant

Moe than 500 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported this Friday

MORE than 500 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported across the country this Friday, the Department of Health has confirmed.

Provisional figures, released by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, show it has been notified of a further 524 confirmed cases of the disease. There are no new reported deaths.

The latest figures are subject to review and analysis and because of the cyber attack on the HSE's IT system, there is no county-by-county analysis.

Commenting on the latest figures, Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, said; “NPHET is closely monitoring variants of concern, and are concerned about possible higher transmissibility of the so called Indian variant and its spread in other countries as well as early reports of its impact on vaccine effectiveness."

While the public are keeping the disease under control and the HSE is increasing the number of people vaccinated every day, Dr Holohan says the variant may, nevertheless, pose a risk to the progress which has been made.

"NPHET will keep a close eye on this as we move towards the end of May and consider the advice we need to provide to Government on any further easing of restrictions," he said.

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group added: “Despite recent challenges to the Health Service’s IT systems, we continue to monitor key indicators of the disease in Ireland. The number of people hospitalised and in ICU are stable, the daily incidence is stable and the amount of people protected through vaccination continues to grow."

Prof Nolan said he remains confident that public health restrictions can be eased further in the coming weeks. “We have confidence that if we can continue to limit transmission of Covid-19 through our individual behaviour and compliance to public health advice, the vaccination effect will lead us to further easing of measures in the near future.” 

Dr Cillian de Gascun, Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory, has confirmed the Indian variant (B.1.617.2) continues to increase, with 72 cases currently identified in Ireland.

"Given the size of our unvaccinated population and the apparent transmissibility of this variant, we would encourage people to remain vigilant and to continue to adhere to the public health guidance as the vaccine programme rolls out," he said.

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