The chief medical officers in Ireland and Northern Ireland, Dr Tony Holohan and Sir Michael McBride, have highlighted their 'growing concern' at the Delta variant of Covid-19.
Following a meeting this evening, the chief medical officers reminded people who are intending to travel across the Border over the coming days to be alert to the epidemiological situation in the relevant local areas and to ensure that “they avoid activities which could place them or their families at risk of Covid-19 infection”.
A joint statement read: “In particular, the CMOs highlighted their growing concern with regard to the Delta variant and advised that everyone should remain careful and continue to follow the public health advice. Now is a time for continued caution in order to maintain the progress made to date in each jurisdiction, until more people are fully vaccinated.”
They warned people who are not fully vaccinated to be particularly cautions, “avoid crowds or large events, meet up with others outdoors where possible and come forward for testing if they develop any symptoms of Covid-19”.
While cases of the Delta variant remain low in Ireland, HSE chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry has said it is a “race against time” to get a critical portion of the population vaccinated before the variant takes off.
“Across in the UK, 75,000 cases in total so far, but more importantly in the past week, that’s jumped by 33,000 in one week,” he told Brendan O’Connor on RTÉ.
“Now they’ve had just over 800 people hospitalised with Delta. Only 10 per cent were fully vaccinated, the rest either partially or not vaccinated.”
“It is quite likely that the Delta variant will overtake the Alpha variant in Ireland,” Professor Ivan Perry of University College Cork told BreakingNews.ie.
“It has to be a significant concern when you look at what’s happening in the UK, the fact that Boris Johnson decided to defer their reopening for a month.
“The UK is beginning to see an exponential rise, not just in cases but in hospital numbers and deaths as well, albeit in much smaller numbers than previously, but any rise is a concern.”