More Covid-19 cases have been reported in the Republic in the past two weeks than in the first eight months of the pandemic, as Ireland is now reporting one of the highest rates of the virus on the planet according to a public health expert.

On Sunday, 6,888 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed by the Department of Health, along with eight additional deaths.

There have been 61,484 cases reported in the past 14 days, while the country’s total number of infections on October 30th stood at 61,059.

Ireland’s national 14-day incidence rate is now 1291.2 according to the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), with 16 counties reporting over 1,000 cases per 100,000 people, including Louth and Monaghan which both have rates in excess of 2,000 cases per 100,000.

DCU Professor Anthony Staines says the spiralling case numbers are much worse than predicted.

“The numbers are much higher than anyone had feared.

“We now almost have the highest rate of Covid-19 on the planet, which is very worrying and our rate has gone up much faster than other European countries.

“It seems to be [caused by] a mix of a lot of movement and social activity around Christmas,” Prof Staines says.

Last night, 1,499 people with Covid-19 were being treated in Irish hospitals, including 126 people who were in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) around the country.

Cork University Hospital was the busiest facility yesterday evening, with 135 patients being treated for the disease there.

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