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Department of Health says all three outbreaks in Ireland over past two weeks have been linked to three flights

DUBLIN: The Department of Health has confirmed that COVID-19 outbreaks in Ireland are caused by airline passengers. A spokesman for the Department of Health said all the outbreaks in Ireland over the past two weeks were related to the three flights. He added that two of these outbreaks are still being investigated and involve possible variants of concern.

A total of 59 cases have been confirmed from the aircraft across six HSE regions. About 25% of positive cases are subject to genomic sequence testing.

Professor Martin Cormican, the HSE clinical lead on infection control, said 19 cases of the P1 variant, which originated in Brazil, had been detected in Ireland so far. Prof. Cormican said that while progress has been made in the fight against COVID-19, “we still have to be careful for some time yet”.

The Department of Health has also justified quarantining those who have been fully vaccinated. The spokesman said there was evidence that the new virus had been found in people who had already been vaccinated.

The department argues that there is no international system for recognizing vaccination certificates, and no official methods for proving that people have been vaccinated.

Meanwhile, Bus Éireann has adviced passengers “to plan their essential journeys” as all primary and secondary students return to school today. Chief Customer Officer Allen Parker said: “Public transport remains at 25% capacity and therefore should only be used for essential journeys.”

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