More than 10 suspected cases of Omicron in Ireland are being studied 8 months ago

More than 10 suspected cases of Omicron in Ireland are being studied

The cases are currently undergoing genome sequencing.

The State is currently studying over 10 suspected cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said.

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Initial tests showed that these cases had a trait differentiating them from the Delta variant. The cases have now been sent for full genomic sequencing, but Donnelly said it is likely officials will be confirming several Omicron infections over the next few days.

Speaking to Virgin Media News, the Minister said:

"It's not possible to know how many cases there may be here. The number that were sent for whole genome sequencing is a little over 10, that's based on a sample of positive cases that would have this particular type of test."

Earlier today, speaking on RTE Radio One's Today with Claire Byrne, he said that the variant was "likely" already in the country and revealed that several suspect Omicron cases were undergoing genome sequencing. However, he did not say how many.

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He also defended Ireland’s level of genome tracking, saying that it is the third highest in Europe, behind the UK and Denmark.

Donnelly is currently in contact with Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan, who is concerned about the spread of the new variant.

He said party leaders plan to meet with Dr Holohan on Monday and prepare recommendations for the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

It comes as NPHET member Cillian De Gascun said Ireland would need at least a three-month plan to tackle the current wave of Covid-19 in the country as the new Omicron variant looms.

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Commenting on the possibility of further restrictions, Minister Donnelly said: “We will have to wait to see how today goes."

Until there is more information about the new variant, he said no government could predict what measures would need to be put in place.

He added that it's not helpful to get caught up in numbers and that travel restrictions were introduced in the past so, if deemed necessary, they may be re-introduced.

Main Image Credit: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

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