Tourists visit the Acropolis archaeological site in Athens, Greece, on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.
Nick Paleologos | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The emergence of the highly transmissible omicron variant has seen cases of Covid-19 surge in countries all over the world.
Over the past 28 days, the U.S. and the U.K. have recorded the highest number of new cases of the virus in the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
However, there are a handful of countries with a higher prevalence of Covid-19 than the U.K. and the U.S., which recorded 2,664 and 1,810 cases per million people respectively for the week to Jan. 6, figures from Our World in Data show.
Among those countries are Ireland, Greece and Denmark.
In the week ending Jan. 6, Ireland had a seven-day average of 4,020 cases of Covid-19 per million people, according to Our World in Data. There were 23,817 new cases confirmed in the country on Thursday, according to official government data, marking the highest daily figure to date.
In the week to Jan. 5, 40 deaths were caused by the virus in Ireland. Despite cases reaching record highs over the past week, Ireland’s fatalities from the coronavirus are a far cry from the peak of 220 deaths in April 2020. However, hospitalizations and deaths are both on the rise as cases continue to surge.
Government figures show that 2.3 million booster doses had been administered by Thursday, meaning 55% of the eligible population has received three shots of a Covid vaccine. Meanwhile, 77% of the population is fully vaccinated with the initial two doses.
Irish health officials announced on Thursday that the government would not be implementing further restrictions to mitigate rising case numbers. The country currently has a handful of measures in place, including mask mandates, restrictions on large indoor events and limiting in-home gatherings to no more than three households.
Back in December, Irish health officials revealed that the omicron strain was now the country’s dominant variant of Covid-19.
The Irish government said in a statement on Wednesday that the epidemiological situation “continues to give rise to significant concern,” but that the “rapid pace of the vaccination program has been central in offsetting the impact of the Omicron wave of the disease.”
Greece also has a high prevalence of the virus, recording a rolling 7-day average of 3,468 cases per million people in the week ending Jan. 6.
On Tuesday, the country reported a record 50,126 new daily cases and 61 deaths, official figures show. By Thursday, that figure had declined slightly to 33,716, while daily deaths rose to 70.
In Greece, 66.3% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
In an interview with a local radio station on Friday, Greek Health Minister Thanos Plevris said provisional data showed no patients with confirmed omicron had been intubated in hospital so far.
He added that steps were being taken to ensure that Athens had enough hospital beds as the omicron variant increased pressure on hospitals in the Greek capital.
His comments came after officials announced in a press briefing on Wednesday that more than 90% of cases in Greece were now the new, highly transmissible omicron variant.
Although Plevris said on Friday that omicron provisionally seemed milder than previous variants, he cautioned: “When we say that omicron is milder than delta, it does not mean that it is mild.”
Thursday’s data showed that 593 Covid-19 patients had been admitted to Greek hospitals over the previous 24 hours.
Elsewhere, Denmark recorded a 7-day average of 3,334 Covid cases per million people in the week to Jan. 6, Our World in Data’s numbers showed.
On Friday, Denmark recorded a provisional 18,261 new positive test results for the past 24 hours. A total of 755 Covid-19 patients had been admitted to hospital, according to official data – one fewer admission from the day before.
Ten new deaths from the coronavirus were reported in Denmark on Friday.
Almost 80% of the Danish population has received two doses of a Covid vaccine, with more than half immunized with a booster dose.
On Friday, Danish authorities said omicron now accounted for 90% of Covid-19 cases in Denmark.
It came after Danish health official Tyra Grove Krause told local media this week that omicron could help the population return to normal life within months.