The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been notified of one case of the SARS-CoV-2 Variant B.1.1.529 (Omicron). A review of positive cases arising since 30 September 2021 identified a number of positive SARS-CoV-2 samples found to have S-gene target failure (SGTF, a potential marker for Omicron).
One of the eight samples sequenced to date has been identified as B.1.1.529 (Omicron). The case was identified in real time and is associated with travel from one of the Scheduled States.
Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health said: “The NPHET Epidemiological Surveillance Team has been meeting regularly over the course of the last week to monitor the situation relating to the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 and, today, we are confirming that one case has been identified in Ireland.
“The Government has announced updated travel measures for all passengers travelling to Ireland from Scheduled States*. In the first instance, the current advice remains that all non-essential travel to or from these states should be avoided. If you have travelled from any of Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa or Zimbabwe to Ireland since 1 November you should isolate and present for PCR testing, regardless of symptom status. This can be booked for free on HSE.ie. If you are travelling to or from a Scheduled State for an essential purpose, you should continue to monitor www.gov.ie/travel for any further updates.
“The key focus for all of us must be to continue to supress the current wave of infection that is driven by the Delta variant of COVID-19. We know how to break the chains of transmission of this virus. The measures with which we are all so familiar have worked against previous variants of COVID-19, they can successfully supress transmission of the Delta variant and we are optimistic that they will work against the Omicron variant.”
The NPHET Epidemiological Surveillance Team will continue to monitor this situation and provide advice to the Chief Medical Officer on an ongoing basis.