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Covid complications Three pregnant women with Covid-19 ‘very unwell’ in ICU over weekend 

First cases of Indian variant notified in this country yesterday

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There were three pregnant women with Covid-19 complications in ICU last weekend, according to a leading obstetrician.

Out of an average of 50 patients in ICU in recent days, three of those were pregnant women who are “very unwell”, according to Dr Peter Kenna, clinical director of the Women and Infants Health Programme at the HSE.

“Despite the fact that the numbers are falling we still have three pregnant women who are unwell, very unwell.

“Whereas we’ve had a very good outcome in terms of mortality, that is not in any way to minimise the impact it has had on those pregnant women who have been admitted to intensive care,” he told Independent.ie yesterday evening.

He said there have also been instances where women have been transferred from maternity hospitals to general hospitals “on account of Covid”.

Dr McKenna said that public health advice applies “in particular” to pregnant women.

“The public health measures all apply to us all [and] in particular to pregnant women and that will continue to be the advice.”

He said it is the decision of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) if pregnant women should be prioritised for vaccination.

The news comes as health officials were notified of three cases of the Indian variant in Ireland today.

Two cases are believed to be associated with travel. While the variant has not been listed as a variant of concern, public health doctors are “keeping an eye” on it as further research data emerges.

Dr Cillian de Gascun, director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory at UCD, said the immunity of people who have been infected with Covid-19 may be affected by the variant. He said there has been little other evidence to show if the variant may be more transmissible or cause people to be more sick.

“It’s important that we remain vigilant and keep an eye on all of these things as they emerge,” added Dr de Gascun. “It’s always better to err on the side of caution.”

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There have now been 34 cases of the Brazilian variant and 55 cases of the South African variant identified in this country.

Asked if Ireland will follow the UK in adding India to its ‘high risk’ list for mandatory hotel quarantine, deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said health chiefs will consider this latest mutation.

“Viruses by their nature replicate,” he said. “The best thing people can do is do all the things they are doing and vaccinate as soon as the vaccine is offered to them.”

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