Plans Activated to Identify Spread of New Omicron Variant – .

Plans Activated to Identify Spread of New Omicron Variant – .

Plans have been activated to identify any spread of the new variant of the Omicron coronavirus in Northern Ireland, Health Minister Robin Swann said.

In a statement released on Sunday evening, Mr Swann urged the public to continue practicing the basic steps that stop the spread of the virus.

The minister is expected to brief the Assembly on measures taken to tackle the variant on Monday after a third case of the Omicron variant was detected in the UK.

The Health Security Agency said the person who contracted the variant is no longer in the UK but has traveled to Westminster in London.

Mr Swann said the ’emerging image’ of the new variant is being watched and the Department of Health is liaising with public health colleagues in other parts of the UK and in the Republic of Ireland .

He said: “Subject to the approval of the President, I intend to update the Assembly on Monday regarding the measures deployed in response to the emergence of the Omicron variant.

“These include adding a number of countries to Northern Ireland’s Red List for international travel. Using passenger location data, the Public Health Agency identifies and contacts people who have recently arrived in Northern Ireland from Red List countries. “

Those identified will be asked to self-isolate and perform PCR testing and if positive cases are detected, the sample will be tested to determine the type of variant.

In his statement, Mr Swann called on people to get vaccinated in an effort to protect themselves against any variant of the virus.

“There are concerns that the Omicron variant may reduce the effectiveness of current vaccines. This is not confirmed and it is important to stress it, ”he said.

“In addition, even if this turns out to be the case, it remains essential that as many people as possible receive their first and second doses and booster shots when they are eligible.

“I have been assured that our vaccines should always provide a level of protection against Omicron. “


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