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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C
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Covid-19: Symptoms and guidelines for the new Eris variant

Chief Medical Officer Prof Breda Smyth said that new sub-variants are “not unexpected”.

THE NUMBER OF cases of Covid-19 is rising steadily, partially due to a new highly transmissible sub-variant called Eris.

As of today, there are 395 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in hospitals, with 11 of those in ICU yesterday.

People who test positive are advised to stay at home until 48 hours after symptoms have “substantially resolved”.

Symptoms of Eris are similar to past variants, and can include:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Running nose
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

Chief Medical Officer Prof Breda Smyth said that new sub-variants are “not unexpected”.

“This is normal behaviour for a virus,” she said, explaining that Covid-19 will continue to evolve and mutate.

There are a number of sub-variants “of interest” in Ireland already and a spike in case numbers is seen every few months.

These sub-variants, Smyth says, “will continue to emerge so we shouldn’t be alarmed by them”.

“We should, however, take sensible precautions to protect ourselves against all respiratory viruses.”

Frequent hand washing and coughing into one’s elbow is still highly encouraged.

Case numbers

The latest figures available show that there were 305 cases of Covid-19, confirmed by PCR testing, as of last Tuesday, 15 August. 

A further 488 were confirmed by antigen tests.

Between 12 August and 18 August, 4,403 tests were completed, with 18.1% being positive.

In the week up to 15 August, there were 20 deaths from Covid-19 recorded.


Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccination programme was suspended for the summer in June. The programme will resume in the autumn, under different guidelines.

Under these new guidelines, a seasonal booster will be available to those who are aged 50 or older, aged five or older with a weak immune system, aged five to 49 with a condition that puts them at serious risk of illness from Covid-19, or a healthcare worker.

The programme in the UK has also been stopped for the summer, with a resumption scheduled for the autumn.

Those eligible for the autumn booster are similarly those at serious risk from Covid-19, and frontline healthcare workers.

The Irish Department of Health said that vaccines are procured for the state by the European Commission, and are administered as part of the national vaccine programme.

There is no suggestion that boosters will be available for private purchase by those not considered ‘high risk’.

However, if those who do not fall under the criteria eligible for a booster come autumn wish to receive one, the HSE told The Journal, they should contact their GP or pharmacist.