One more doubtlessly worrying coronavirus variant has been identified in Ireland for the first time, according to public health officers.
A single case of the B1525 variant, which emerged earlier in the UK and Nigeria, has been found via genome sequencing, a Nationwide Public Health Emergency Team briefing has heard.
The variant has a assortment of mutations that will relieve the virus evade neutralising antibodies and would possibly possibly well possibly therefore lessen vaccine effectiveness.
A extra four cases of the B.1.351 variant first identified in South Africa beget also been found right here, bringing the total to 15, according to Dr Cillian de Gascun, director of the Nationwide Virus Reference Laboratory. Most are connected to slouch, he said.
The assortment of cases of the P1 variant first identified in Brazil remains at three, he added.
Some 15 per cent of cases are now being sequenced so that variants would possibly possibly well possibly additionally be detected, Dr de Gascun said.
A extra 35 deaths of Covid-19 patients had been reported by the Nationwide Public Health Emergency Team on Thursday. One in all the deaths dates from November and 12 from January, while 21 took place in February.
These that died ranged in age from 53 to 102 years and the median age used to be 85.
This brings to 4,271 the total assortment of deaths in the pandemic.
Nphet also reported 613 more confirmed cases of the disease.
“We are making fair progress and can be taught about that relatively a range of doubtlessly the principal indicators of disease phases in our communities are continuing to fall,” according to deputy chief scientific officer Dr Ronan Glynn. “This progress is the motive we are ready to reopen our schools in a cautious and phased basis.”
“Nonetheless, we would possibly possibly well beget to be conscious that Covid-19 is indifferent circulating at a high level and, we are indifferent seeing positivity rates of around 15 per cent in the community. As we be taught about more of our formative years return to varsity next week, it’s a necessity that we continue to practice all of the general public health guidance, including on the college urge.”
Of the present cases, 224 had been in Dublin, 39 in Limerick, 37 in Meath, 34 in Westmeath and 33 in Offaly, with and the remaining 246 cases spread at some point of all varied counties.
The median age of cases used to be 34 years and 66 per cent had been beneath 45.
The 14-day incidence of the disease now stands at 226 cases per 100,000 other folks nationally. Offaly has the glorious county incidence, followed by Galway and Dublin.
The reproduction quantity, a measure of how many alternative other folks a case infects, now stands at 0.6-0.9, according to Prof Philip Nolan, chair of the Nphet epidemiological modelling advisory team.
In the final week in January, virtually 1,400 healthcare employees reduced in dimension Covid-19; that quantity used to be much less than 300 final week.
Up to Saturday, 359,616 doses of Covid-19 vaccine had been administered. This included 226,291 first doses and 133,325 2nd doses.
Prof Nolan said “continued, but slower progress” used to be being made against all indicators of the disease.
Incidence is indifferent high and the distress remains “precarious”, but suppression of the disease is being maintained.
The seven-day moderate of cases is half what it used to be four weeks ago and case quantity are declining by 2 per cent each day.
Prof Nolan said even supposing incidence had risen among 19- to 24-365 days-olds this used to be in consequence of direct outbreaks instead of a sustained increase in this age team.
Defending Nphet’s decision now not to position direct targets for lifting restrictions, Dr Glynn said it had a accountability now not to give “false hope”. It’d be “disingenuous” to assert certain things would occur on a particular date given the must continue suppressing the disease and the disclose posed by the present variant first identified in the UK.
“If sustain down numbers we’ll be in brighter dwelling by the tip of March,” he said.
He said there used to be “early and clear proof” of the protecting build of vaccination in long-time period care services, the set aside there has been a “unexpected and involving” lower in cases. The assortment of cases has dropped from 1,250 to 200 in three weeks.
In the meantime, the assortment of healthcare employee infections has fallen “precipitously” – down 93 per cent from mid-January, compared to a 77 per cent fall in infections total.
In the meantime, an additional five other folks in Northern Ireland beget died after testing definite for Covid-19 and 281 current cases beget been confirmed, according to doubtlessly the most contemporary replace from the Northern Ireland Division of Health.
It brings the dying toll to 2,048 and the total assortment of cases to 111,932.
On Thursday morning, there had been 341 Covid-definite patients in medical institution in the North, of whom 44 had been in intensive care. – Extra reporting: PA