Covid in Europe: Where are the hotspots and how does Ireland compare?

Some countries in eastern Europe are experiencing record outbreaks
Covid in Europe: Where are the hotspots and how does Ireland compare?

Tomas Doherty

Europe is facing a new surge in Covid infections and hospital admissions despite high vaccination levels in many countries.

Some countries in eastern Europe are experiencing record outbreaks, even as the Delta variant surge eases and many countries resume trade and tourism.

Eastern Europe has among the lowest vaccination rates in the region. More than half of all new infections reported worldwide are now from countries in Europe, according to analysis by Reuters.

The latest figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control show Latvia has the highest infection rate in Europe.

The country of 1.9 million reported 1,757 new cases per 100,000 people on a two-week basis.

About 61 per cent of Latvian adults are fully vaccinated, less than the European Union average of 75 per cent.

The country was the first in EU to return to a lockdown this autumn as Covid cases spiked, and has asked other EU members for medical help as makeshift medical facilities are installed in halls and garages of its hospitals.

Estonia has the next highest rate on the continent, with 1,660 cases per 100,000.

Ireland has reported 640 cases per 100,000 people over the most recent 14-day period.

The countries with the lowest infection rates are Malta (36), Spain (44) and Italy (76). The European average is 306 cases per 100,000.

The Scottish Isles, Wales and the southeast of Ireland are among the regions with the highest Covid rates in Britain and Ireland, according to official data collated by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Orkney in the north of Scotland has the highest rate, reporting 1,143 cases per 100,000 over the last two weeks.

Most Irish regions now have higher infection rates than many English or Scottish regions, according to the WHO data.

London has a 14-day rate of 492 cases per 100,000, compared to 813 in the Dublin region.

It comes as the governments across Ireland and Britain try to navigate a difficult winter for health systems without imposing further Covid restrictions or lockdowns.

In the Republic, the Government held talks with hospitality sector representatives on Tuesday in a bid to enforce rules on Covid vaccination passes and to discuss the risks associated with their wider reopening last month.

A further 3,578 Covid cases were reported in the State on Tuesday, while the number of people in hospital with the disease reached 520.

In the North, Health Minister Robin Swann announced a public consultation on a proposal for compulsory Covid and flu vaccination for new health and social care workers in the region.

It follows a decision in England to make Covid vaccination a mandatory condition of employment for those on the frontline of the country's health service. Additional reporting: Reuters

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