01 Dec 2021

Department of health issue update on Covid-19 variant

Department of health issue update on Covid-19 variant

The Department of Health have this evening issued an update on the new Covid-19 variant which has been identified in both southern Africa and Hong Kong. 

In that statement the department confirm that they have "been monitoring the emergence of a new variant (B.1.1.529), of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This variant has been identified in a number of countries in southern Africa and in Hong Kong.

" The World Health Organisation (WHO) is meeting tomorrow to further assess the significance of this variant. The WHO has not yet designated this variant as a variant of concern." 

The ECDC has reported that it continues to monitor all emerging evidence in relation to this variant.

" The Department is aware of measures taken by the Government of the United Kingdom including the suspension of flights from a number of African countries." the statement contunued. 

No cases of this variant have been reported in Europe to date, but the Minister for Health is deeply concerned.

The statement concluded with" The Department has been in contact with colleagues in Northern Ireland and we will continue to liaise with UK authorities.

The Department’s advice to the Minister will continue to be informed by relevant guidance emanating from the ECDC and the WHO"

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