LiveCases of Delta variant soar to more than 600 in Northern Ireland

More than 600 people in Northern Ireland have tested positive for confirmed/suspected cases of the Delta variant which was first detected in India.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 2:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 6:00 pm

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A mobile testing unit deployed to specifically detect cases of the Delta variant in Northern Ireland.

LIVE UPDATES: Coronavirus NI - Cases of Delta variant soar to more than 600 in Northern Ireland

Last updated: Wednesday, 23 June, 2021, 14:15

Cases of Delta variant soar to more than 600 in Northern Ireland

The Public Health Agency’s (PHA) surveillance systems are indicating that as of yesterday [Tuesday 22 June 2021], 612 confirmed or probable cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 have been detected throughout all 11 local council areas in Northern Ireland.

This is not a surprising development as we have seen the Delta variant become prominent in other countries across Europe and anticipated that the same would happen here. Latest information shows that around half of COVID-19 positive cases sampled in Northern Ireland are indicative of the of the Delta variant, which isn’t unexpected but shows how quickly this variant is spreading. However, there are steps people can take to help protect themselves and others against all variants of coronavirus, and we are still working to slow spread of the Delta variant to allow for more vaccinations to be rolled out.

Dr Gerry Waldron, Head of Health Protection at the PHA, said: “The spread of the Delta variant underpins the need for continued vigilance and adherence to the public health guidance – it is essential that people continue to work within the regulations and advice.

“We ask that the public remain vigilant, keep their interactions with others down, continue following the health advice to limit the spread of COVID-19, and engage with the Contact Tracing Service if identified as a confirmed case or a close contact and follow the advice given.

“There is a range of testing sites across Northern Ireland, so if you develop symptoms or are asked to get a PCR test because you are a close contact, please book one as it will help reduce further spread and assist us in identifying any additional variants.

“We have also activated enhanced testing in areas where we have identified a number of probable cases of the Delta variant. In order to help slow down the transition of the variant, we have been asking asymptomatic people to get tested in selected, targeted neighbourhoods where cases have been identified. We would urge anyone who is invited to get tested under one of these localised programmes to do so.

“Vaccine uptake is also an important means of securing protection against COVID-19 infection. Currently over 1.9 million doses have been administered in Northern Ireland. In order to enable further increased vaccine uptake, the Department of Health, supported by the Public Health Agency and working closely with Health and Social Care Trusts, Community Pharmacists and local councils, is working to establish a number of community mobile vaccine clinics. The purpose of these mobile clinics is to increase vaccine uptake within specific neighbourhoods by setting up a localised walk-in clinic within a community setting. This will help address potential barriers to vaccination such as mobility, accessibility and language.

“The best way to stop variants developing or spreading is to keep pushing down infection rates and transmission of the virus in our community. By sticking to public health advice, working within the regulations, getting vaccinated when eligible, and avoiding becoming complacent, we can all play a role in tackling COVID-19.”

Ballymoney and Omagh update

Up to Monday 21 June 2021, a total of 449 people were tested in Omagh and 689 were tested in Ballymoney. Early analysis of results shows a total of 31 positive cases of COVID-19 were detected.

All positive cases have been contacted and advised to self-isolate in line with public health guidance. Robust contact tracing has taken place to identify their contacts and ask them to self-isolate and get tested. Ongoing work is being done to identify whether any of these cases were likely to feature the Delta variant.

No additional public health interventions are required at present.

LIVE UPDATES: Coronavirus NI - Fully vaccinated people in NI could escape quarantine this summer

People in Northern Ireland who have received both doses of a Covid-19 could be allowed to travel to and from countries on the amber list without having to quarantine for 10 days when they return.

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, told MPs on Tuesday that officials were “working on” changes to the international travel regulations.

We have contacted the Department of Health (DoH) to establish if people in Northern Ireland could expect to see a similar change deployed here.

If the change goes ahead it would mean people in Northern Ireland would be able to travel to countries such as France, Spain and Italy without having to observe 10 days of self-isolation at home when they return.

Media minister John Whittingdale told Sky News that the green list will be reviewed this week and “I hope that we can put more countries on to it”.

But he urged people to go on holiday at home in the United Kingdom.

“You can have a great holiday in Britain and I think a very large number of people will decide this year that that’s what they will do,” he said.

“Having said that, people like to get away to the sun and there are a number of countries on the green list, and hopefully it will be possible to increase that number.”

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