SEVEN confirmed cases of the so-called Indian Coronavirus variant have been detected in the North of Ireland, according to the Department of Health.
The department said they had been notified by the Public Health Agency of what is known as the VUI B.1.617.2 (India) variant.
The Department of Health said they are working closely with the PHA and Regional Virology Laboratory to investigate the cases further.
Describing it as “not entirely unexpected”, the chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride confirmed “plans are in place” to deal with the presence of the variant.
“While preventative measures – including travel restrictions – are very important, the assessment is that these will delay rather than permanently prevent the spread of variants already detected elsewhere on these islands,” he said.
“Confirmation of these cases does not mean this variant is going to become the most prevalent or the dominant strain in Northern Ireland.
“It does, however, highlight why caution is still essential in relation to Covid-19.
“The most effective way to stop variants developing or spreading is to keep pushing down infection rates and transmission of the virus in our community.
“All variants spread in the same way. We protect ourselves and others by following public health advice and getting vaccinated when our turn comes.
“Social distancing and limiting the number of contacts we have are still vitally important. So too are wearing a face covering and washing hands well and often.
“Also, please always remember the particular risks from indoor settings, especially those that are crowded and have poor ventilation.”
The Indian variant of Covid-19 has been detected in other parts of the UK and the Republic.
Health officials in London suggest almost 10% of Coronavirus cases there now relate to the variant, while eight cases of the variant were detected in the Republic of Ireland last month.Tags: