Eleven cases of the South African Covid-19 variant have been detected in Ireland.
Speaking at this evening's National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) briefing, Dr Cillian De Gascun confirmed the variant was now in the country.
Dr De Gascun, director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory at University College Dublin, said all the cases were from travel and that there was no evidence of community transmission.
He said the Brazilian variant has not been detected in Ireland yet.
Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said a study that suggested the AstraZeneca vaccine is less effective against the South African variant was not conclusive and that it was too early to reach this conclusion.
Meanwhile, six further Covid-19 related deaths and 829 additional cases have been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland today.
Five of these deaths occurred in February, and one occurred in January.
The median age of those who died was 84 years and the age range was 75-95 years.
There has now been a total of 3,687 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland.
As of midnight Sunday, February 7th, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has been notified of 829 confirmed cases of Covid-19. There is now a total of 204,397 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.
Of the cases notified today:
- 401 are men/426 are women.
- 63 per cent are under 45 years of age.
- The median age is 35 years old.
- 386 cases are in Dublin, 39 in Meath, 36 in Cork, 35 in Kildare, 32 in Louth and the remaining 301 cases are spread across 20 other counties.
Ireland is still on course to report as few as 200 new Covid cases per day by the end of the month, according to Professor Philip Nolan, chair of the Nphet epidemiological modelling advisory group.
While officials had predicted a drop to between 200 and 400 per day by the end of the month, cases have still regularly been above 1,000 per day.
Prof Nolan said: “If we continue to act as a society for the next three or four weeks, the way we have been acting for the past five weeks, then yes we're still on track. It's important not to become disheartened by the fact that progress appears to be slower as you're going down that exponential decline.”
The latest Covid-19 vaccine update for the State has been released with over 230,000 doses administered so far.
230,776 vaccine doses have been administered as of Friday, February 5th.
This includes 151,212 people who have received their first dose and 79,554 people who have received their second dose.
This figure represents 4.64 per cent of the population who have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine.