Covid-19 Ireland LIVE updates: The nation arcs to increase Omicron as five new common symptoms identified

Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly announced yesterday that people will now only have to wait three months after a full vaccination to receive their booster dose.

The NIAC made the recommendation but said that reinforcements should continue to be provided in order of priority.

They also recommended a booster dose (a fourth dose) of the mRNA vaccine no later than three months after the third dose for those who are immunocompromised.

Meanwhile, a new plan to speed up the rollout of the boosters is expected to be published in the coming days.

NPHET will meet Thursday to discuss any further tightening of restrictions before Christmas.

About 11% of cases in Ireland are now Omicron, said Dr Tony Holohan, head of marketing, last night, up from 1% a week ago.

He said: «Today we are reporting 8 more cases of the Omicron variant, confirmed by whole genome sequencing, bringing the total confirmed cases in Ireland to 18.

«Potential Omicron cases can be identified by the number of PCR results with ‘S gene target failure’ – just as we did when the alpha variant emerged a year ago. Using this methodology, we estimate that 11% of cases are now due to the Omicron variant, more than less from 1% just one week ago.”

A number of new common symptoms of the new variant have been identified by medics in South Africa, where the latter strain was first identified.

Dr. Angelique Coetzee, president of the South African Medical Association, was one of the first to suspect the Omicron strain.

She has noticed that patients in her private clinic are showing symptoms that are different from those of Delta.

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Dr. Coetzee told AFP she notified health officials of a «clinical picture that did not fit Delta» on November 18 when seven patients showed various symptoms that seemed «largely related to normal viral infection».

Night sweats – which happen when you sweat so much that your night clothes and bedding get wet – have also been observed by medics in South Africa.

Stay tuned for all the latest Covid-19 updates throughout the day in our live blog below.

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