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COVID-19 cases are rising daily in Ireland; new variant found in UK have been detected in Ireland

DUBLIN: A new variant of COVID-19 found in the UK has been detected in Ireland, chief medical officer Dr. Tony Holohan confirmed. He said that further testing in the coming days and weeks will establish how many people have been affected by the new variant.

Dr. Holohan urged the people to minimise social contact and avoid all forms of non-essential travel to keep COVID-19 away. Strict adherence to the public health advice is the greatest gift we can give our loved ones this Christmas, he said.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is on the rise. Further 1,025 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths were confirmed yesterday in Ireland. So far 2,194 COVID-19 deaths and 84,098 cases have been confirmed in the country.

Mr. Holohan said the new UK variant of SARS-CoV-2 was detected by whole genome sequencing at the National Virus Reference Laboratory in UCD. “It is particularly important that those who have arrived from the UK strictly self-isolate for a full 14 days following arrival. They should not interact with others, visit others, socialise or go shopping,” he said.

Dr Holohan said the HSE is is making arrangements to test those who have recently arrived from the UK. The incidence of the disease is very high in Ireland. It has become one of the fastest growing in the European Union.

Level-5 restrictions started

The first of the new Level 5 restrictions came into effect yesterday with the closure of restaurants, gastropubs and cafes except for take-away and delivery.

Hairdressers, beauticians and barbers are other businesses that will be closed until January 12. Religious services will move online, but places of worship can be open for private prayer.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has confirmed that the use of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved in Ireland. The first delivery of almost 10,000 doses will take place tomorrow. The first vaccinations will be on December 30.

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