The variant has a number of mutations in key locations of the genome which suggest it may be highly transmissible and may be able to evade immunity from current vaccines and prior infection. Local epidemiology in South Africa suggests fast growth in a population who had high levels of immunity.


Anyone who has arrived in Northern Ireland or travelled through any of the countries listed above in the past 10 days should self-isolate immediately for 10 full days after arrival. All members of their households should also self- isolate.

A full travel history must be obtained for all individuals presenting to health and social care services with immediate effect. Enquiry must be made about travel to or via Southern Africa or through any of the countries identified above.

All individuals who have a travel history from any of the listed countries in the past 10 days and who present to health services including primary care must be tested for COVID-19, they should be tested through Pillar 1 testing arrangements – that is through HSC Trust laboratory services and not through Pillar 2 arrangements

Trust Area Contact Details to Arrange Testing through Pillar 1

  • Belfast Trust Via Royal Hospital Switchboard and ask for Patient Flow Tel No  07795842425
  • South-Eastern Trust Via Ulster Hospital Switchboard and ask for Clinical Service Manager On-Call, Tel No  028 9048 4511
  • Northern Trust Email HCW.Testing@northerntrust.hscni.net Via Antrim Area Hospital Switchboard and ask for Microbiologist On-Call Tel No  028 9442 4000 Southern Trust Assistant Director Cancer and Clinical Services Tel No  07920875602. Out of hours contact via Craigavon Hospital Switchboard on
    028 38891733
  • Western Trust
    Northern Sector  via Altnagelvin Hospital Switchboard and ask for Senior Manager On-Call, Tel No  028 7134 5171
    Southern Sector  via South-West Area Hospital Switchboard and ask for Senior Manager On-Call, Tel No  028 66382000

Further assistance on arranging testing for individuals in this situation can be obtained from the Public Health Agency Duty Room telephone 0300 555 0119 Monday to Friday. Out of hours contact ambulance control on 028 9040 4045 and ask for the public health doctor on call.