Irish are facing Covid surge in favourite European holiday spots

Irish holidaymakers heading to Europe this summer are facing into a new Covid-19 wave, with more hotspots reporting a surge in cases.

pain, Portugal, Italy, France and Greece are all reporting more cases of the virus as the BA.4 and BA.5 variants take hold.

Meanwhile, the positivity rate for Covid-19 among people having PCR tests here rose to 35.18pc yesterday, signalling another rise in the spread of the virus.

There were 629 patients with Covid-19 in hospital in Ireland yesterday morning, a slight rise on the previous day.

Twenty-four are in intensive care, a figure that remains steady, signalling a high level of protection from serious illness.

However, Irish holiday-makers travelling in Europe can expect to meet a rise in Covid.

Portugal has already seen a wave of new infections, although it looks like it may have peaked.

Spain is being hit by the new variants, and France is also reporting an accelerating rate of infections.

French scientists say the new variants are between 10pc and 15pc more infectious than previous forms of Omicron.

Admissions with Covid-19 to hospitals in France were up 27pc this week, while Italy saw its Covid-19 confirmed cases increase from 354 per million to 549.

Greece reported its seven-day average of new cases rising from 377 per million in early June to 681 this week.

The HSE continues to encourage people who are eligible for a first or second booster vaccine to avail of it as a defence against serious illness.

The latest news comes as The Lancet yesterday revealed the largest study to date of long-Covid symptoms in children aged up to 14.

It confirms they can experience symptoms of the condition for at least two months.

The study, which was published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, used national-level sampling of children in Denmark and matched Covid-positive cases with a control group of children who had no previous history of an infection with the virus.

One of the study’s authors, Professor Selina Kikkenborg Berg of Copenhagen University Hospital, said: “The overall aim of our study was to determine the prevalence of long-lasting symptoms in children and infants, alongside quality of life date and absence from school or day care.

“Our results reveal that, although children with a positive Covid-19 diagnosis are more likely to experience long-lasting symptoms than children with no previous diagnosis, the pandemic has affected every aspect of all young people’s lives.”

Among children aged from four to 11, the researchers said that the most commonly reported symptoms were mood swings, difficulty remembering or concentrating and rashes.

Among those aged from 12 to 14, it was fatigue, mood swings and trouble remembering or concentrating.

Meanwhile, 14 cases of unknown and serious hepatitis have been identified in young children in Ireland. 

The hope is that this form of hepatitis virus has now peaked.

Two children have received lung transplants, and one child has died of the infection in the early stages of the emergence of the virus.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre(HPSC) said investigations into its possible cause are underway here and in other countries.

Separately, in the UK, polio infection has been found in wastewater.

It is the first time in nearly 40 years that polio has been detected.

Health officials declared a national incident and urged people to make sure they are vaccinated.

Irish children are vaccinated against polio at two, four and six months of age, with a top-up at four to six years. 

The last recorded polio case in Ireland was in 1984.