Prevalence of the new coronavirus strain has now risen to 45% says Taoiseach Micheál Martin

Toaiseach urges people to wear masks when they are 'out and about'

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Prevalence of the new coronavirus strain has now risen to 45% says Taoiseach Micheál Martin

Prevalence of the new coronavirus strain has now risen to 45% says Taoiseach Micheál Martin

The incidence of a more infectious variant of the coronavirus first detected in England has increased in Ireland. The variant has accounted for almost half of the most recent sample of positive tests, according to the Taoiseach, according to an RTÉ online report.  

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he was informed by the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, that the new variant accounted for 45% of the most recent 92 samples that underwent additional testing, compared with 25% of those tested in the week to January 3 to 9%, two weeks earlier.  

The Department of Health was notified of eight further coronavirus-related deaths yesterday and 6,888 new cases. The Health Service Executive's latest figures puts the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in hospital at 1,575. The number of patients in ICUs has increased to 146.

The Taoiseach also said he believes people should now wear face coverings when they are "out and about," according to the report on the RTÉ website. 

He said some popular areas where people go to take exercise are getting quite crowded and believes people should wear masks in those settings.