The government says it could reintroduce Covid restrictions in Ireland if cases rise this winter.
The number of people admitted to hospital with Covid has “been edging” in recent weeks, according to Dr Colm Henry, clinical director of the HSE, however he added that there are no signs of an increase yet.
More than 1.6 million positive cases of Covid have been confirmed in Ireland in the last two weeks. Currently 442 patients are hospitalized with Covid, of which 16 in intensive care.
It is billed as a new strain of Covid that some have dubbed a “nightmare variant” and is rapidly doubling the number of infections in countries where it has been detected.
Known as XBB, the strain has been found in more than 17 countries in Asia and Europe.
It has been called a “nightmare” by the Asian media due to the speed at which it spreads and how it seems to escape the protection of those who are vaccinated or have natural immunity.
There are no signs that it causes more serious illness, reports Mirror UK.
John Swartzberg, an infectious disease expert at UC Berkeley, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the variant is “no different from the others,” reports Mirror.
According to Mirror, reacting to XBB being called a “nightmare”, he said: “That is pretty irresponsible reporting because it’s impossible to know what all these variants mean. We are seeing a slew of new variants that are using a similar approach to survive — they are finding ways to evade the way we get immunity from vaccines and previous infection with changes on the spike protein. XBB is no different from the others.”
XBB is a mutation in Omicron BA.2.
It was first found in India in August and has since been detected in Bangladesh, Japan, Singapore, Denmakar and Australia.
The Singapore Ministry of Health said that XBB went from being responsible for 22% of cases to 54% of cases in one week. He added that there is no evidence that XBB causes more severe disease, although it appears resistant to treatments.
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