DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland became the latest country to smash its previous record number of daily COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, reporting 16,428 new infections as those requiring treatment in hospital also began to rise, the health department said.
That topped the 11,182 reported on Dec. 24 with the fast- spreading Omicron accounting for almost all cases and making tests hard to come by. There are 568 coronavirus patients in hospital, sharply up on the Dec. 25 two-month low of 378.
The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital peaked at just over 2,000 in January during Ireland’s deadliest wave when a barely manageable 221 filled almost every intensive care bed in the country. 93 patients currently require critical care.
“All of the latest epidemiological indicators are a cause of concern. Given the very high levels of transmission nationwide, every individual should consider themselves potentially infectious, and strictly adhere to the public health measures,” Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said in a statement.
The government earlier this month ordered restaurants and bars to close at 8 p.m., put a cap on household meetings and reduced the capacity in all public events.
With the number of people required to isolate as a result of infection or risk of exposure rising, the head of the Restaurants Association of Ireland called on government to review close contact rules for the sector.
Fearful of the economic impact of keeping so many people at home, some governments are looking at shortening the period that people have to isolate as global infections hit a record high on Wednesday, according to Reuters data.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Giles Elgood)