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Delta variant poses major threat to Ireland’s reopening – experts warn

DUBLIN: Experts warn that the Delta variant, which was first identified in India, might pose a significant threat to Ireland’s reopening. Their warning is that if the spread of the variant is not taken seriously, the situation here will be worse than in the UK.

The growing number of Delta variant cases is “a clear and present danger” for Ireland, a Cork-based infectious diseases expert said.

So far, 218 cases of both the Delta and Kappa variants (two COVID-19 strains first identified in India) have been recorded in Ireland. Dublin has the most of these variants, with 119 cases, followed by Cork, which has 67. There are also four cases in Kerry, five in Limerick, and one each in Tipperary and Waterford. The National Virus Reference Laboratory submitted the majority of these cases.

Virologist Cillian de Gascun said 126 cases of the Delta variant and 89 cases of the Kappa variant were found in Ireland.

Professor Gerry Killeen, AXA Research chair in applied pathogen ecology at University College Cork, described the Delta variant as a “clear and present danger” to Ireland’s re-opening plans.

Over the weekend, the Northern Ireland Public Health Agency detected a small number of probable Delta variant infections in county Down.

Prof. Killeen believes Ireland can overcome the threat if the government implements similar strict measures to prevent the spread of the Gamma (P1) variant, which was first identified in Brazil. He also suggested that all possible precautions be taken, including mandatory hotel quarantine.

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