Two newly suspected outbreaks of Delta variant detected in Northern Ireland

The Public Health Agency (PHA) has confirmed it has detected what are likely to be two new outbreaks of the Covid-19 Delta variant in Northern Ireland.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 4:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th June 2021, 4:02 pm

Probably cases of the Delta variant (VOC-21APR-02) have been detected in the areas of Ballymoney and Omagh.

As a precautionary measure the PHA is asking asymptomatic people to get tested in selected, targeted neighbourhoods within these areas. This is in advance of confirmation of whether a variant is present and the PHA can identify asymptomatic Covid-19 cases early and reduce the risk of spread in the community.

Testing is opening to everyone in these areas over the age of five years old.

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Surge testing in Kilkeel a few weeks ago when the PHA detected an outbreak of the Delta variant there.
Surge testing in Kilkeel a few weeks ago when the PHA detected an outbreak of the Delta variant there.

Households in the areas that this testing covers will be contacted directly by PHA by post from Friday.

Dr Bríd Farrell, Assistant Director of Service Development, Safety and Quality at the PHA, said: “Testing in these areas is a precautionary measure to identify asymptomatic cases and help prevent and delay further spread of the virus.

“We encourage all those eligible in the neighbourhoods identified by the agency to present for testing, preferably within 24-72 hours of receiving their letter.

“We are particularly interested in people in the 18 to 40 age group coming forward for testing as we are seeing more cases of the Delta variant in this age group throughout Northern Ireland.

“This is a reminder to everyone that we should take steps now to help reduce the spread of the variant, and must avoid becoming complacent. Everyone over the age of 18 who has not yet booked their vaccine should do so now – if you have had your first dose, make sure you attend for your second one. Two doses of the vaccine appears to have a high degree of effectiveness against the Delta variant, and getting it will not only help protect you, but also more vulnerable members of our community.

“Also, 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, and keep rooms well ventilated. Helping to stop the spread of the virus will save lives.”

If anyone develops symptoms of COVID-19, which are a new, continuous cough, or a high temperature, or a change in your sense of taste or smell, please book a test as soon as possible and you and your household must self-isolate when waiting for your test appointment and test result.

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