Two deaths and 511 Covid-19 cases reported by Nphet

Coronavirus variants with no link to travel detected in Republic

Two deaths and 511 Covid-19 cases were reported by National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet)on Saturday afternoon.

There have now been a total of 4,715 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland and a total of 237,695 confirmed cases in Ireland.

As of March 31st, 865,460 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland, with 619,003 people having received their first dose and 246,457 people a second.

Meanwhile, no deaths from Covid-19 have been reported in Northern Ireland on Saturday.


A total of 84 people have tested positive for the virus in the North in the last 24 hours, the Department of Health there confirmed on Saturday afternoon.

Earlier on Saturday, The Irish Times reported that coronavirus variants classified by public health officials as being “of concern” are being detected in the State without a link to international travel.

The issue is noted in the minutes of a Nphet meeting last month, which say that “complex contact tracing” of these cases was ongoing.

According to minutes posted this week, Nphet heard that the Health Protection Surveillance Centre “continues to follow-up probable cases of new variants in clusters of new outbreaks. Of note, ongoing complex contact tracing of some clusters of probable variants of concern have not yet found a link to international travel.”

Dr Cillian de Gascun, director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory, on Friday expressed concern about Covid-19 variants being identified without a link to travel.

“We have an opportunity to try and control the importation of the other variants of concern,” he said. “Ideally we would like to ensure that there aren’t ongoing networks of transmission of these variants in the community that we don’t know about.”

Dr de Gascun said the “greatest concern” would be an undetected case of a variant in a care facility, workplace or school leading to a “super-spreading event”.

Meanwhile, on RTÉ, an assistant professor of virology at UCD said there are now Covid-19 variants being detected in Ireland through community transmission, unrelated to travel.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Saturday with Katie Hannon, Dr Gerald Barry said that at present 32 cases of the variant first identified in South African have been confirmed in Ireland, while 12 cases of P1 and 14 cases of P2 – both of which were first identified in Brazil – have also been confirmed.

Dr Barry said that while “some” of these cases are as a result of travel, others were as a result of community transmission.

“That suggests that these variants are circulating in the community,” he said.