Eamon Ryan cancels Cop26 visit after testing positive for coronavirus

Green Party leader and Minister for Climate Eamon Ryan has tested positive for Covid-19 and will not be travelling to the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.

Mr Ryan said he is asymptomatic and discovered he had the virus when he took a precautionary PCR test on Friday as recommended by the summit organisers.

Mr Ryan has advised the Health Service Executive of his close contacts, including those encountered in the 24 hours before the test.

This is the requirement for those who have a positive result, but who are not experiencing symptoms.

He has also advised Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and the secretary to the government that he has tested positive.

The Department of Climate said the national climate delegation will continue its efforts to secure meaningful progress at Cop26 through membership of the European Union and as a new signatory to the High Ambition Coalition, which works to ensure the delivery of ambitious nationally determined contributions.

Mr Ryan appeared with Mr Martin and Mr Varadkar at a press conference in Government Building on Thursday to announce the Climate Action Plan.

A Government spokeswoman said the Taoiseach is taking antigen tests as he is fully vaccinated.

Under current guidelines a person does not have to self-isolate if they are fully vaccinated and have conducted an antigen test which returns a negative result.

Mr Varadkar has already taken such a test, which was negative. A spokesman said: “He is advised that he does not need to restrict his movements and can continue working as normal in line with public health advice. He spoke to Eamon to wish him well.”

Mr Ryan also appeared at a local government think-in on Saturday in Dublin involving Green Party councillors.

His spokeswoman said that as his PCR test was precautionary rather than as a result of symptoms, he did not have to self-isolate following his test on Saturday.

By the numbers 

Meanwhile, a further 3,685 cases of the disease were confirmed on Saturday, as State chief medical officer Tony Holohan advised people to walk out of bars and restaurants if not asked for Covid certificates.

According to the Department of Health, there were 444 patients with the virus in hospital as of 8am on Saturday, 74 of whom were being treated in intensive care.

Dr Holohan admitted that people do not want to hear public health messaging anymore but the virus is “not releasing its grip”.

He said walking out and not returning to businesses that do not follow coronavirus rules will help the hospitality sector comply with public guidelines, which only allow people who have been fully vaccinated to be served in indoor settings.

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