LivePupils and staff at NI school to be tested for Covid-19 after suspected outbreak of Delta variant

Covid-19 tests are being offered to students and staff at a school after a suspected outbreak of the Covid-19 Delta variant.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 6:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 10:29 am

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A mobile testing unit in Kilkeel on Monday.

LIVE UPDATES: Coronavirus NI - Pupils and staff at NI school to be offered Covid tests after suspected outbreak of Indian variant

Last updated: Monday, 07 June, 2021, 18:57

  • Pupils and staff at NI school to be offered Covid tests after suspected outbreak of Indian variant
  • 15 newly suspected cases of Indian variant discovered in NI
  • Health authorities in UK confirm 23 cases of Nepalese mutation of Delta variant
  • 54 new infections detected in last 24 hours

Pupils and staff at NI school to be offered Covid tests after suspected outbreak of Indian variant

A school in Northern Ireland has been forced to close after an suspected outbreak of the Delta (Indian) variant.

Kilkeel High School will remain closed until Thursday at the earliest.

Mobile Covid-19 test units have been set-up at the school and will be open from 9am to 3pm on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

The tests are for pupils and staff only and while they are totally voluntary the school is urging as many people as possible to avail of the service.

Teaching will be carried remotely pending a further risk assessment.

The tests are being offered to Years eight to 11 and year 13 pupils.

You do not require an appointment.

15 newly suspected cases of Indian variant discovered in NI

Following the identification of a small number of probable cases of the Delta variant (VOC-21APR-02, first detected in India) in the Kilkeel area, the Public Health Agency (PHA) started asymptomatic testing on Saturday of people in targeted neighbourhoods within the area. This action has been taken in advance of confirmation of whether a variant is present so that we can identify asymptomatic COVID-19 cases early and reduce the risk of spread in the community.

All households identified for testing have been contacted and three Mobile Testing Units will remain in Kilkeel to accommodate testing of anyone over the age of five from within the identified areas who has yet to be tested.

A total of just over 1,000 tests were carried out over the weekend and 15 positive cases of COVID-19 have been 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.

The PHA is now working with partners to place an additional Mobile Testing Unit at Kilkeel High School to test all pupils and staff as a precautionary measure as a number of positive COVID-19 cases have been linked to the school.

Dr Bríd Farrell, Assistant Director of Service Development, Safety and Quality at the PHA, said: “The Public Health Agency wants to thank everyone who has come forward to date for testing. This testing is a precautionary measure to identify asymptomatic cases and help prevent community spread, the more people who come forward for testing the better chance we have of slowing the spread of the virus.

“All positive test results are now being assessed for a preliminary indication of whether a variant is present or not and then submitted for whole genome sequencing to confirm the type of variant. This process can take several days to complete.”

“This is a timely reminder to everyone throughout Northern Ireland to continue to carry out all public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Continue with good hand and respiratory hygiene, keep your distance of two metres from others where possible, wear a face covering where necessary, keep rooms well ventilated, and if you’re offered the vaccine, book your appointment. Stopping the spread of the virus will help save lives.”

No new deaths but 54 new infections

There have been no further Covid-19 deaths recorded by Stormont’s Department of Health in the last 24-hour reporting period.

There were another 54 confirmed cases of the virus recorded.

On Monday morning there were 16 confirmed Covid-19 inpatients in hospital, one of whom was in intensive care.

23 cases of ‘Nepal variant’ that WHO says does not exist detected in UK

Twenty-three cases of the so-called “Nepal variant” have been detected in the United Kingdom, health authorities have confirmed.

It is not yet known if any of the 23 confirmed cases were detected in Northern Ireland.

Experts believe the Nepalese strain of the virus is a mutation of the Delta variant (strain originally detected in India of which there are 26 confirmed cases in Northern Ireland).

There is insufficient data on the “Nepal variant” therefore it remains unknown if it is more or less transmissible than they fast spreading Delta variant.

More to follow.

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