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Health officials say seven cases of the Indian variant have been detected in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride said that the cases are not unexpected.

Northern Ireland Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride said seven cases of the Indian variant have been detected.
Northern Ireland Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride said seven cases of the Indian variant have been detected.
Image: PA

NORTHERN IRELAND HEALTH officials have said that the Indian Coronavirus variant has been detected in tests.

The NI Department of Health said this afternoon that the Public Health Agency has notified them of seven cases of the variant. These are the first confirmed cases of this mutation of the virus in the North.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said that a strategy has been developed to deal with the new variant.

“This news is not entirely unexpected and plans are in place for such an eventuality,” he said.

“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.

“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,” he explained.

Dr McBride said that the most appropriate way to combat the variant was to keep reducing cases.

“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.

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“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,” he added.

The up to date case numbers in Northern Ireland have been 102 cases with no further deaths. There are 67 Covid-19 infected patients in hospital while seven of those people are in intensive care units.

The highest incidence is in Derry and Strabane at 94.2, while the lowest remains Ards and North Down on 3.7.

A total of 1,416,826 doses have been administered up to this morning. There are 957,063 first doses, while 459,763 people have received a second injection.

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