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Irish elderly have third highest risk of death of any EC country

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An elderly Spanish couple out walking with face masks on

An elderly Spanish couple out walking with face masks on

REUTERS

An elderly Spanish couple out walking with face masks on

Ireland has the third highest death rate related to Covid-19 among older people in Europe.

The EC's Health at a Glance: Europe 2020 report also confirmed that Ireland has implemented the most severe restrictions on the closure of non-essential shops and services of any European country.

The report, which was published in cooperation with the OECD, showed Ireland recorded 2,359 Covid-19 deaths per million citizens aged 60 years or over up to early October.

This was the third highest after Belgium and the UK, where figures were in excess of 4,300 deaths per million.

The Irish rate is more than twice the EU average of 1,121.

The death rate among residents of nursing homes aged 80 years was the fourth highest in Europe at 6,013 per million.

The survey found the shutdown in Ireland on non-essential businesses and services was considerably more than the second most restrictive country Lithuania, with 76 days.

Most closed such outlets for less than 60 days.

Ireland was also one of only five countries to keep both primary and secondary schools fully closed until the start of the summer holidays.

However, Ireland was less severe in terms of the number of days that citizens were ordered to stay at home - 51 days in the first six months of 2020.

Six countries including Italy, France and Belgium had higher rates of confinement.

The report, which examined the resilience of healthcare systems across Europe in dealing with the crisis, showed Ireland had the 11th highest rate of infection.

It also had the 8th highest mortality rate, with 390 Covid-19 related deaths per million population - the same rate as the EU average.

Positive

The study estimated that Ireland took 36 days to bring its R value, the rate of infection, to below one from its peak infection rate - the 14th fastest and slightly slower than the EU average of 34 days.

On a positive note, Ireland committed the third largest increase in spending on healthcare per capita, with an extra €1.8bn budget.

However, the report showed Ireland has a high level of nurses but fewer doctors compared to most EU countries as well as one of the lowest rates of ICU beds.

During the first surge, we had the joint second highest proportion of Covid-19 patients occupying ICU beds at 65pc with France after Italy at 78pc.

Over seven million people in Europe were infected with the virus and around 220,000 had died from Covid-19 by the end of October.

The report said several countries including Finland, Norway and Estonia were more successful in containing the spread of the virus due to a combination of geographic factors, containment measures as well as strong trust and compliance by citizens.


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