Health officials of Ireland have declared 6,841 new cases of Covid. That number comprises 3,310 positive PCR tests in past days, as well as 3,531 positive Antigen tests registered through the HSE’s portal over the weekend.
There are currently 535 patients in hospital with Covid, of which 43 are in ICU.
As the Health Protection Surveillance Centre warned in its latest report, Covid case numbers remain high, despite a continued decrease in PCR positive and antigen-positive cases.
According to the World Health Organisation, there is growing concerned about a new Covid subvariant Omicron XE, first identified in January.
XE is a recombinant of the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 strains, and some studies have found it may be up to 43% more transmissible than the original Omicron that savaged the globe last winter.
At least one case of the XE variant has been confirmed in Ireland so far.
Trinity College Professor Luke O’Neill previously said that although the new strain shouldn’t be a massive cause for concern, one aspect of the variant should be observed closely.
The immunology expert added that we could be optimistic that vaccines will prevent severe disease in Omicron XE.
He said vaccines that can be effective against every emerging variant are in development and will be “the real dream” in tackling coronavirus.
“There is a huge amount of effort going in to try and make them,” he said.
“People probably don’t realise that there is still a frenzy of activity around making new vaccines – next-gen vaccines they are called. Some of them are even better than the current vaccines.
“There are 130 vaccines in development, so keep a close eye on that one.”
Meanwhile, a public health expert had said he did not communicate the Covid models “as well as was necessary” to Government ministers weeks before Ireland had the world’s highest incidence of cases.