LATEST: First case of new variant in Ireland as 3,793 more infections confirmed
A further 3,793 people have contracted Covid-19, the Department of Health confirmed this evening.
The latest cases come after the first case of the new Covid variant Omicron was confirmed today
The number of people being treated for Covid-19 in hospital now stands at 578, down one in yesterday. Of these, 117 are currently in ICU, a drop of five.
Tests carried out at the National Virus Reference Laboratory in Dublin confirmed the presence of the Omicron variant in Ireland.
Laboratory director Dr Cillian de Gascun told a technical briefing of the National Public Health Emergency Team some 14 samples were analysed over the weekend.
Eight of the samples underwent whole genome sequencing and one of these was confirmed as having the new variant.
Dr De Gascun said the first Omicron case is linked to travel associated case to one of designated countries that have confirmed cases of the variant.