HIQA finds rates of SARS-CoV-2 rising across Europe

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published an updated international review submitted to the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) on public health measures and strategies to limit the spread of COVID-19.

HIQA found that restrictions continue to be eased across 18 of the 19 countries included in the review. The exception was Portugal where regional COVID-19 restrictions have been reintroduced. The pace of easing was noted to differ, as did the requirements to access certain services, facilities and to attend events. Similarly the numbers allowed at private and public gatherings varied widely.

Since April, all of the reviewed countries have experienced reductions in their rates of COVID-19 hospitalisation and admissions to intensive care as well as reductions in COVID-19 death rates. However, the latest data show increasing COVID-19 incidence rates in over half of the included countries, which is likely due to the widespread transmission of the delta variant.

Ireland currently has one of the lowest numbers of people in hospital or intensive care per million population of any of the included countries, surpassed only by Czechia, Denmark, Israel, and Norway.

HIQA’s Deputy CEO and Director of Health Technology Assessment, Dr Máirín Ryan, said: “We need to remain cautious. While our rate of hospitalisations and ICU admissions is low, incidence rates are rising, which suggests an increase in hospitalisations may be ahead of us.

“The COVID-19 vaccine remains the best method to limit the spread of SARs-CoV-2 and safeguard against serious illness. Every country reviewed has rolled out a vaccination programme. In the European Union, Spain and Germany have the highest share of population that is fully vaccinated, at 39.5% and 37.6% respectively, with Ireland at 36.2%. We would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to be vaccinated, to do so.”

HIQA will continue to review and update this report as required by NPHET.


Further information:
Marty Whelan, Head of Communications & Stakeholder Engagement
01 814 7480/085 805 5202, mwhelan@hiqa.ie

Notes to Editor:

  • HIQA has today published the following document to inform NPHET’s response to COVID-19:
    • An international review: Public health measures and strategies to limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • All information within this international review was correct, as of 2 July 2021.
  • HIQA’s COVID-19 Evidence Synthesis Team produces a variety of outputs including rapid health technology assessments, scoping reports, rapid reviews of public health guidance, modelling analysis and evidence summaries, supplemented by an evidence-to-advice framework to guide the development of advice, where appropriate.
  • The topics HIQA researches are outlined and prioritised by NPHET to ensure rapid access to the best available evidence relevant to the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak.