HIQA provides update on public health measures 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.

Given decreases in the 14-day incidence rate of new cases in 11 of the studied jurisdictions, including in Ireland, there has been a move to ease COVID-19 restrictions in most of these countries. However, incidence remains high in a number of countries including in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden, where some restrictions have been extended, either nationally or regionally, since the last review in March.

As of 16 April, only Ireland, Spain and all four jurisdictions of the UK had fully reopened face-to-face teaching for all primary and secondary school students. 

Most countries in which schools are not fully open are operating a combination of face-to-face and distance learning. However, HIQA noted that some countries, including Israel, Belgium and France, plan to fully reopen all schools over the coming weeks. Universities are generally operating by distance learning with exceptions for practical and laboratory-based classes, as is the case in Ireland. 

Dr Máirín Ryan, HIQA’s Deputy CEO and Director of Health Technology Assessment, said: “Face-to-face learning is important for children and young people’s educational, social, and emotional development. It is through the hard work of staff, students, parents and public health teams that schools in Ireland have fully re-opened. However, there is no room for complacency: continued adherence to the recommended public health measures by everyone is necessary to help ensure the continued safety of all those attending and working in our schools.” 

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

Ends.

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 16 April 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.