Northern Ireland confirmed its first cases of Omicron COVID-19 variant on Dec. 7.
The Department of Health (DoH) confirmed a total of three cases of the new variant — two in the same household in the Belfast area and one in the Southern Trust area.
All three cases have been linked to travel to Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
“This is a development we have been expecting and preparing for since we were first made aware of the Omicron variant,” Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Michael McBride said.
“This is not a time for panic, but for sustained caution. We are awaiting further data on this new variant and the extent of the public health threat it represents,” McBride also said.
McBride called for the public to continue following health measures designed to curb the spread of COVID-19, including wearing of masks, working from home if possible, and getting vaccinated.
DoH added that the vaccine booster doses are expected to be made available to those aged 18 and older by the end of January.
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