01 Jul 2022

Latest: Ireland's response to Covid-19 variant Omicron outlined by Department of Health

Concern grows as Louth Covid-19 incidence rate rises

Coronavirus Covid-19

NPHET is considering what new restrictions to prevent a surge of Omicron Covid-19 variant cases in Ireland acccording to the Department of Health.

The Department issued a statement on Saturday night November 27 to outlined the latest response to the emergences of the worrying mutant.

"While not formally notified by European Alert Systems, the Department of Health is aware of media reports of the new variant SARS-CoV-2 Variant B.1.1.529 (Omicron) cases in the UK, Italy, Germany, and Belgium.

"A series of initial measures have been put in place to mitigate against the arrival of this variant to Ireland.

"The NPHET Epidemiological Team are meeting regularly over the weekend to monitor the situation and are currently considering further required measures," it said.

The Department outlined that measures currently in place include:

  • Ireland will align with the EU Recommendation to apply the “emergency brake” in respect of the countries concerned (i.e. Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe) and discourage travel to/from these countries.
  • The Department of Justice is updating visa requirements for those countries.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs has changed its travel advisory to “avoid non-essential travel” to these countries.
  • Irish residents returning home from these countries will be required to undergo strict home quarantine regardless of vaccine/recovery/test status, and undergo PCR testing during quarantine.
  • Regulations are being drawn up urgently to give effect to the new travel and home quarantine policies.
  • The Department of Transport has engaged with carriers to ensure that all relevant pre-departure requirements (Covid Certificate, PCR test evidence, Passenger Locator Forms) are rigorously complied with.
  • The Department of Justice is arranging increased BMU spot-checking of passengers on arrival.
  • Mandatory Hotel Quarantine options are being examined on a contingency basis.
  • The situation regarding this new variant will be kept under continuous review by all relevant bodies.

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