Ireland says cluster of more contagious Brazilian Covid variant ‘completely contained’

A cluster of three cases of Brazilian coronavirus variant in Ireland, which provoked alarming headlines in the Irish media, has been contained, a top medical official announced on Saturday.

The three infected individuals were recent arrivals from Brazil, the head of National Virus Reference Laboratory, Cillian de Gascun, told RTE radio.

The mutated virus was discovered in the three during a 14-day quarantine after their return to Ireland.

The cluster has now been “completely contained,” de Gascun said.

The infections, which were announced by health officials on Friday, became the first cases of the Brazilian strain – known as the P1 variant – in the Republic of Ireland.

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Thousands of coronavirus mutations have been discovered around the globe as it’s natural for viruses to make small genetic changes as they spread. But the scientists are concerned with only a few of them, including the UK, South Africa and Brazil variants that are believed to be more contagious than the “original” Covid-19. There are also fears that mutations resistant to current coronavirus vaccines may emerge.

The P1 variant is blamed for causing a spike in coronavirus cases in the Brazilian city of Manaus in December and January before spreading to other countries. Alarmingly, there have been instances of people that had beaten the the novel coronavirus getting re-infected with this Covid mutation first detected in Brazil.

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