COVID Ireland: Health Minister ‘very concerned’ about new super variable after big surge in Africa

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly is «deeply concerned» about a new type of Covid-19 virus that has spread in South Africa.

The B.1.1.529 variant, expected to be renamed Nu in the coming days, caused a spike in positive tests in the African country.

This has led to the UK shutting down all flights from six African countries to try to prevent them from entering the region.

Here, the Department of Health said it is monitoring the condition of the variant.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said: “The Ministry of Health has, in recent days, been monitoring the emergence of a new variant (B.1.1.529), of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This variant has been identified In a number of countries in South Africa and in Hong Kong.

“WHO will meet tomorrow to further assess the significance of this variable. The WHO has not yet identified this variant as a variable of concern.

The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that it continues to monitor all emerging evidence regarding this variant.

“The management is aware of the measures taken by the UK government including the suspension of flights from a number of African countries.

“No case of this kind has been reported in Europe so far, but the Minister of Health is very concerned.

«The department has been in contact with colleagues in Northern Ireland and we will continue to coordinate with the UK authorities.

“The management’s advice to the Minister will continue to be guided by relevant guidance from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.”

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