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27th Apr 2022

Ireland likely to see another big Covid surge within weeks, says WHO

Katy Brennan

Hospitals may see “quite a lot of illness” again.

Ireland is likely to see another surge in Covid infections in four to six weeks, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The organisation’s Special Envoy on Covid Dr David Nabarro says the country may face “quite a lot of illness” again as numbers start to rise.

“We’ve actually been going down in terms of numbers around the world for the last four to six weeks,” he said.

“I think it will pick up again in about another four to six weeks and there’ll be another surge. There will be a surge in Ireland as well as in the British isles, and that may lead to quite a lot of illness in hospitals again.”

He added that there will continue to be new surges roughly every three months.

In March, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said the number of cases each week was likely “several hundred thousand” but that they were being underreported. At the time, the decision not to reintroduce restrictions to combat rising cases was criticised by some.

The country’s handling of the pandemic was also criticised by the WHO earlier this year, which said that rules were “brutally” lifted from “too much, to too few”.

12 deaths and 2,837 new Covid-19 cases were reported in Ireland on Tuesday. The number of people in hospital with Covid at the moment is 477, with 33 in intensive care.

Meanwhile, Professor Luke O’Neill has said vaccines are working against the new strain of the virus, Omicron XE, and are preventing severe disease.

“It’s like a deck of cards and it keeps getting reshuffled,” he said, speaking about new variants.

“You know an immune system can recognise the same cards, basically. So far the worry would be a new deck of cards might emerge, or a different kind of suit of cards… might emerge, and then we might be in more trouble, but for the moment as I say it’s the same deck of cards being reshuffled basically.”

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