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Surge in COVID-19 cases, new variant: Health Minister awaits recommendation to add India to “red list”

DUBLIN: In view of the emergence of a new variant and a surge in COVID-19 cases in India, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said he was looking forward to the advisory group’s recommendation on whether to add India to the mandatory hotel quarantine list this week.

The statement from Minister for Health came after Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane said there are alarming cases and deaths in India but the country is not yet on Ireland’s “red list”. Sinn Féin TD questioned why Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom included India on the red list but not the Republic.

Mr. Donnelly said more than 300,000 COVID-19 cases were reported in India on Wednesday “and it’s absolutely heartbreaking”.

Donnelly said he spoke to Deputy CMO Dr. Ronan Glynn about the issue yesterday and is looking forward to a recommendation on it this week. “I am expecting a recommendation on India this week,” he said.

“I am concerned about it. When the deputy CMO and I spoke on this yesterday the Indian variant had not yet been classified by the multilaterals as a variant of concern but we know the UK added it to their list and we’re looking very closely at it,” Mr. Donnelly added.

The Minister for Health said that an advisory group reviews the list of countries and decides whether or not India should be added to it. Once they have made their recommendation, they will send a letter to Minister Donnelly, who will consult with the Department of Foreign Affairs before making a decision.

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