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Coronavirus: 20 deaths and 8,248 new cases as ICU numbers rise above 100

Three cases of a South African strain of the virus have also been detected.
Jan 8th 2021, 6:32 PM 165,658 376

A FURTHER 8,248 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Ireland, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has said this evening.

In a statement, it said that a further 20 people confirmed to have Covid-19 have died.

The death toll from Covid-19 in Ireland is 2,327, and the total number of confirmed cases is now at 135,884.

Dr Tony Holohan said three cases of a new variant of Covid-19 recently identified in South Africa have been confirmed in Ireland today by whole genome sequencing. All of the cases identified are directly associated with recent travel from South Africa.

 Of the cases notified today:

  • 3,834 are men / 4,375 are women
  • 61% are under 45 years of age
  • The median age is 38 years old
  • 3,013 in Dublin, 1,374 in Cork, 538 in Limerick, 314 in Kildare, 310 in Donegal and the remaining 2,699 cases are spread across all other counties. 

As of 2pm today, 1,180 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 109 are in ICU. There were 116 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Regarding the South African strain, Holohan said: “Anyone who has travelled from South Africa recently is advised to self-isolate for 14 days and identify themselves through a GP for testing as soon as possible.

“We are particularly advising healthcare workers travelling from South Africa, that it is essential that they self-isolate for 14 days before entering/re-entering the workplace.

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“While this variant has not yet been identified in many European countries we believe the identification here reflects the extent of genome sequencing surveillance in Ireland.”

Dr Cillian De Gascun, director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory, added: “The ECDC Assessment states that preliminary analyses indicate that the South African variant is associated with a heightened viral load and may have increased transmissibility. It also states that there is no evidence to date that this variant is associated with higher severity of infection.” 

With reporting by Garreth MacNamee

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