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Leah Farrell
latest figures

5,471 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed, with results on suspected Omicron expected this week

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said today that the new variant may have been in Ireland since October.

LAST UPDATE | 30 Nov 2021

PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS have confirmed 5,471 new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland today.

As of 8am today, 579 patients are in hospital with Covid-19, of whom 122 are in intensive care.

Yesterday, 4,607 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed, 579 Covid-19 patients were in hospital with 115 in ICU.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that work is ongoing at sequencing number of cases of Covid-19 to see if they are of the Omicron variant, with Martin saying that the suspected cases in this country may date back to October.

“The Omicron variant is likely to be in this country. There are now a number of cases on which work will have to be done to identify and to confirm whether or not they are Omicron,” he said. 

They could have been seeded right throughout November or indeed in October.  There is now a look back ongoing at all the people who have travelled in from various locations.  There are cases emerging all over Europe – at very low levels, it must be said.   

Results on the sequencing of the suspected cases from the National Virus Reference Laboratory are understood to be expected shortly this week. 

Cabinet decided that children from the age of nine will be asked to wear a face-covering in certain public settings for the first time on a temporary basis, and that parents should aim to reduce socialisation indoors for children aged 12 and younger over the next two weeks.

In a statement this evening, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said a “significant and rapid deterioration” in the epidemiological situation, in the as-yet-unvaccinated 5 – 11-year-olds has been seen over a short period of time.

He said the measures announced this evening “are not what any of us want to hear, particularly at this time of year”.

“We know that it adds an additional burden at what has been a very difficult time for all of us, particularly those with young families.”

“Our priority continues to be to minimise risk and protect as many people as possible from severe illness.”

He recommended that the following events be avoided for at least the next two weeks:

  • Indoor birthday parties and playdates – these should take place outdoors and should be kept small
  • Sleepovers
  • Indoor community gatherings involving children including communions, confirmations, nativity and other seasonal events

Earlier today, Cabinet also agreed that, from Friday, people arriving into Ireland from overseas will be required to have a negative Covid-19 test.

The negative test can be either a PCR test taken in the previous 72 hours or a professionally-administered antigen test taken in the past 48 hours.

The new measures come amid increasing concern about the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and will be reviewed again in a fortnight’s time.

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