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New COVID-19 strain spreading faster than all forecasts - Irish PM

FILE PHOTO: Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Micheal Martin speaks as he arrives to attend a face-to-face EU summit amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown in Brussels, Belgium December 10, 2020. John Thys/Pool via REUTERS

DUBLIN (Reuters) - A new strain of COVID-19 that reached Ireland from the United Kingdom is spreading faster than the country’s most pessimistic forecasts, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said on Wednesday.

“While international research for this new variant is ongoing, it is already very clear that we are dealing with a strain of the disease that spreads much, much more quickly,” Martin said in a televised address announcing a tightening of public-health restrictions for the next four weeks.

“It is spreading at a rate that has surpassed the most pessimistic models available to us,” Martin said.

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Chris Reese