One infectious disease expert said the new alternative to Omicron was «a cause for concern» and would likely come to Ireland.
The government has placed an emergency brake on travel from countries in southern Africa in a race to stop a new mutant strain from reaching our shores.
Omicron acquired in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and neighboring countries, With cases already detected in the UK.
Dr. Cillian de Gascon, a member of National public health emergency team, told RTE’s Brendan O’Connor that it’s possible Omicron is already in Ireland.
He added, «The concern is that it is so far away from the original virus, that we will see more infections again even in people who have been infected before and we will see an impact on the effectiveness of the vaccine.»
However, Dr. de Gascon said he believes vaccines will still be effective against Omicron in preventing severe disease.
He added: «There are a lot of unknowns at the moment, but I think we’re right to be concerned, because if we look at Omicron it’s a lot more contrast than any of the variables we’ve seen so far.
“We’ve seen alpha and delta and they are also completely separate and are very far from the original virus, but we know which vaccines we can still protect from severe disease and from hospital treatment.
«There is no evidence at this point that vaccines are not effective against this variant – there is concern, but there is no evidence.»
It came as 4,791 more cases were confirmed on Saturday.
As of 8 a.m. Saturday, there are 536 Covid-19 patients in hospitals — down 35 from the day before.
118 people are in intensive care units across the country.
He told the Anton Savage Show, «I’ll be honest, I was scared yesterday, it was a hit, I was thinking if we get these boosters in the next few weeks we’re going to be in better shape, and we’re going to do that… and the possibility that you have something working around the vaccine, let’s be honest. It was the most frustrating thing for them since the beginning of this thing.”
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