Ireland has lowest current incidence of Covid-19 in western Europe

European Centre for Disease Control says some countries are reporting resurgence of the virus or large localised outbreaks

Ireland has the lowest current incidence of Covid-19 cases in western Europe, according to a European report that warns some countries are reporting a resurgence of the disease or large localised outbreaks.

The overall risk of Covid-19 in countries with rising case numbers is currently moderate for the general population and very high for at-risk groups, according to the latest assessment by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC).

It says the incidence of the disease fell by 12 per cent in the second half of June, but most countries are still reporting community transmission and some are suffering a resurgence of cases or large localised outbreaks.

Among the outbreaks referenced in the report are those in meat plants in Ireland.


The reasons for the increase vary, the ECDC says. It may reflect greater testings – and therefore does not necessarily indicate higher transmission – or it may be due to greater transmission after restrictions were eased or because of outbreaks, or due to importation of cases.

It says countries with rising case numbers are at a high risk of further increases if they do not have proper monitoring and testing systems, and if “non-pharmaceutical interventions” (restrictions) are eased when community transmission is ongoing.

In order to respond to these risks the ECDC recommends expanded testing, early detection and isolation of cases, and quarantine. It also calls for “long-term sustainable”, and modifiable implementation of essential non-pharmaceutical interventions, irrespective of transmission rates, and a communications strategy to remind people “the pandemic is not over”.

Lower incidence

According to the report, the incidence of the disease in Ireland in the past 14 days is 2.9 cases per 100,000. Nine countries have a lower incidence – Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Slovakia.

Many of the countries that Irish holidaymakers travel to in summer have much higher incidences than us – Spain has an incidence of 9.9, Portugal 47.4, Italy 5.2, France 10.3, the UK 22.7 and Turkey 22.9.

Sweden, which has recently ramped up its testing, has the highest 14-day incidence at 149.4 cases per 100,000 population.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is a former heath editor of The Irish Times.