Ireland has world’s highest Covid infection rate

Ireland has the highest rate of new Covid-19 cases of any country in the world, according to figures published by Our World in Data.

The Emerald Isle had 1,228.66  new cases per million people on 11 January, putting it ahead of Israel (873.10) and the UK (854.42), the data show.

Coronavirus infections have been surging in Ireland in recent weeks. On Monday, 4,929 new cases and eight deaths were logged.  

Christmas gatherings and the new coronavirus variant have been blamed for the rise.

Irish premier Michael Martin said the mutation discovered in the southeast of England had a “significant impact on transmission” in Ireland.

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Speaking to Newstalk radio on Monday, Mr Martin said he was told by his chief medical officer that the new variant accounted for 45 per cent of the most recent 92 samples that underwent additional testing, compared with 25 per cent of those tested in the week to 3 January and 9 per cent two weeks earlier.

He also said that compliance with coronavirus restrictions had begun to weaken in the two weeks leading up to Christmas.

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The increased infections are heaping further pressure on hospitals already overun by the disease.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 1,700 confirmed cases in hospitals across the country, according to Irish government figures.

Some 144 of those cases were receiving treatment in intensive care units, the data shows. In total, Ireland has recorded  152,539 cases and 2,352 deaths.

Professor Alan Irvine, president of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association, told RTÉ’s News at One the situation is a “national emergency”.

The system “will not be able to cope” if infections continue to rise, he added.

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