Government set to meet with NPHET to discuss new variant
The meeting follows confirmation that the variant is in both the UK and mainland Europe.
The Government is set to meet with NPHET on Monday (29 November) to discuss the potential impact of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
Party leaders will meet with Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan this afternoon and will discuss the findings of NPHET's epidemiological surveillance team, who have been assessing the course of the new variant.
Ahead of the meeting, Dr Holohan reminded the public on Sunday to continue to follow public health guidelines to slow the current growth of the virus.
"While there is much attention on new variants, incidence of the Delta variant of Covid-19 remains too high in Ireland, with widespread infection in the community," he said.
"We all know the actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 - good hand hygiene, wearing a face covering, meeting others outdoors where possible and, when indoors, opening windows and ensuring good ventilation, keeping your distance and, of course, coming forward for vaccination and booster dose when eligible.
"The NPHET Epidemiological Surveillance Team continue to meet this weekend to monitor the situation in relation to the new variant SARS-CoV-2 Variant B.1.1.529 (Omicron) and regulations are being drawn up to give effect to the new travel and home quarantine policies.
"In the meantime, those who have travelled from any of Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa or Zimbabwe to Ireland since 1 November are advised that they should isolate and present for PCR testing, regardless of symptom status. This can be booked for free on HSE.ie," he concluded.
Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory and member of NPHET, Cillian De Gascun said that the Government should be considering a three month plan to tackle rising case numbers in the country.
"Rather than looking at the short term elements in relation to Christmas or whatever it might be, we need to be thinking, as a society, about the next three months, and as individuals about what we can do safely over the next three months."