Have you arrived in Ireland from the UK since December 8th?
If so, the Health Service Executive is now advising you should self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether you have taken a Covid-19 test.
New advice distributed to GPs across the country yesterday requires that any person who has travelled to Ireland from Britain in the past 14 days (around 30,000 people) should spend the majority of their time in a room alone, ie their bedroom, until they are contacted by the HSE using the information provided on their passenger locator form.
“This is stricter advice than usual. It’s in place because of the spread of a new strain of Covid-19 which is active in Great Britain. This strain of Covid-19 is more easily spread than other strains of the virus, so it is a greater risk.” the HSE said in a statement.
“If you have already had a private Covid-19 test, you still need to complete 14 days of self-isolation, regardless of the result.”
Visitors from the UK are advised not to go for routine, non-urgent healthcare appointments during their 14 days of self-isolation and to stay away from nursing homes or residential care facilities until they have completed 14 days of self-isolation.
This is what yesterday looked like in General Practice. Calls, referrals for testing & clinically likely cases doubling in 5 days. Figures tend to spike on Monday so let’s hope for some reprieve. We all need to cut contacts right down, w/ @ICGPnews & @TrinityMed1 pic.twitter.com/rDwe9DhKkI
— GPBuddy (@gpbuddy) December 22, 2020
“There has been a rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in London and South East England.” said the HSE.
“All viruses mutate and change. This leads to new strains of the virus. Early analysis of this new strain of Covid-19 suggests that it is significantly more transmissible than other strains.
“There is currently no information to suggest that this new strain leads to a more severe COVID-19 infection or that the COVID-19 vaccine will be less effective. We don’t yet know if the virus has spread outside Great Britain. But there is a risk we will see cases in Ireland.”
If you develop symptoms of Covid-19
If you spot any coronavirus symptoms, the advice is to phone a GP to book a test for Covid-19 and tell them you have recently been in Great Britain and have developed symptoms. Do this even if your test result is negative (Covid-19 not detected).