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virus strain Three cases of new variant of Covid-19 first identified in Brazil are found in Ireland

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Three cases of a new Covid-19 variant first identified in Brazil have been notified to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

All three of the cases are directly associated with recent travel from Brazil, according to a statement tonight from the National Public Health Emergency Team.

These cases are being followed up by public teams and enhanced public health measures have been put in place.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said that anyone coming from Brazil or any other “Category 2” country is required by law to quarantine at home for 14 days.

“In addition any such passengers should phone any GP or GP out of hours service to arrange a free Covid-19 test – the test should be done five days after you arrived in Ireland or as soon as possible after those five days,” he said

“Whatever the result of the test, you must complete the 14 day period of quarantine.”

Dr Glynn said: “This P1 variant has previously been identified in a small number of European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

“While there is currently no microbiological or epidemiological evidence of any change in transmissibility of P1, this is plausible. Further studies are required to determine whether this variant is likely to have an impact on vaccine effectiveness or infection severity.”

Dr Glynn added: “Detection of this variant in Ireland does not change the fact that our best defence against all forms of Covid-19 is to stick with the public health measures that have proved to be effective in reducing incidence of disease in our communities.”

“We must continue to wash our hands well and often, wear a mask, cough and sneeze into our elbows, keep two metres social distance from others and avoid crowds, and always remember that it is imperative to phone your GP at the very first sign of Covid-19 symptoms.”

Travellers coming from the following countries must quarantine for 14 days if they arrive in Ireland: Angola, Austria, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Eswatini, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

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