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About 70% of cases now Delta as Holohan says country facing further Covid wave

Dr Tony Holohan said the country is facing a “significant wave of Delta-driven transmission”.

Dr Tony Holohan at a press briefing this evening.
Dr Tony Holohan at a press briefing this evening.

THE DELTA CORONAVIRUS variant now accounts for approximately 70% of cases, according to virologist Dr Cillian de Gascun.

Preliminary data from the first half of this week shows the variant has increased from being identified in 55% of cases sampled at the end of last week, the director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory said at a NPHET press briefing this evening.

Dr de Gascun said yesterday that this variant will “almost certainly” be the dominant coronavirus strain in Ireland by mid-July. 

He said the available evidence suggests the Delta variant is between 40% and 60% more transmissible than the Alpha strain of the coronavirus, which has been dominant in Ireland for the last five months.

The virologist said there will be a further update on this analysis next Monday, but that ”if we look at the preliminary data for the first half of this week, it’s up at around 70%”.

Over the past three weeks, he said Delta has risen from 9% of cases one week, to 28% the next and then to 55% at the end of last week. 

The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said said the growing Covid incidence the country is experiencing will “lead us into a further wave of transmission”. 

“Our full expectation is that we’re going to see a significant increase in transmission here. That’s the experience that’s been had across many parts of the UK,” he said. 

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Dr Holohan said Scotland has seen case numbers go from around 200 a day about six or seven weeks ago, to over 4,200 yesterday.

So there’s every reason to believe, and that’s our belief, that we’re facing a significant wave of Delta-driven transmission and we’re going to be in the same situation in that respect as we think all of the rest of western Europe is going to experience, maybe at slightly different times.

The deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said that almost 5,000 Covid-19 cases have been identified in Ireland in the past fortnight, with nearly 2,000 of these in Dublin. 

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