COVID-19 pandemic in the Republic of Ireland

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COVID-19 pandemic in the Republic of Ireland
COVID-19 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population in Ireland.png
COVID-19 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population by county, 24 November 2021
Ireland: Decrease Positive.svg 1292.4 (-18)(26 November 2021) [1]
  •   ≥1725
  •   1381–1725
  •   1209–1381
  •   1105–1209
  •   <1105
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COVID-19 Social Distancing Bilingual Sign Tir na nOg Park Carpenterstown (2020).jpg
Clockwise, from top-left:
Disease COVID-19
Virus strain SARS-CoV-2
Location Republic of Ireland
First outbreak Wuhan, Hubei, China
Index case Dublin
Arrival date29 February 2020 (1 year, 8 months, 4 weeks and 2 days ago)
DateAs of 27 November 2021
Confirmed cases556,319 (+4,791) [2]
Hospitalised cases
  • Decrease Positive.svg 536 (-35) (active) [3]
  • 20,245 (total) [3]
Critical cases
  • Increase Negative.svg 121 (+3) (active) [3]
  • 2,145 (total) [3]
Ventilator casesIncrease Negative.svg 84 (+2) (active) [4]
5,652 (+43) [nb 1] [5]
Fatality rateDecrease Positive.svg1.02%
  • Total doses: 7,405,724 [6]
  • 1st dose: 3,617,410 (+1,374) [6]
  • 2nd dose: 3,551,915 (+1,063) [6]
  • Single dose: 236,399 (+20) [6]
  • Boosters: 666,137 (+31,122) [6]
Government website – COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The COVID-19 pandemic in the Republic of Ireland is part of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus reached the country in late February 2020 [7] and within three weeks, cases had been confirmed in all counties. [8] [9] The pandemic affected many aspects of society. The government shut all schools, colleges, childcare facilities and cultural institutions on 12 March 2020. [10] All large gatherings were cancelled, including St Patrick's Day festivities two years running. [11] [12] On 24 March 2020, almost all businesses, venues and amenities were shut, [13] and on 27 March, the first stay-at-home order banned all non-essential travel and contact with other people. [14] [15] [16] The elderly and those with certain illnesses were told to cocoon. [17] People were made to keep apart in public. The Oireachtas passed an emergency act giving the state power to detain people, restrict travel and keep people in their homes to control the virus's spread. [18] Further emergency law passed the following week. The Garda Síochána were given power to enforce the lockdowns. [19]


The Republic's first lockdown was the longest in Europe, especially for hospitality and retail. [20] It caused a severe recession [21] and an unprecedented rise in unemployment. [22] [23] [24] A Pandemic Unemployment Payment and a Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme were set up. School exams were cancelled. The Health Service Executive (HSE) launched a recruitment campaign, asking all current and former healthcare workers to "be on call for Ireland". [25] By mid-April, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) reported that the pandemic's growth rate had been driven "as low as it needs to be", [26] and the curve had flattened. [27]

Daily cases and deaths dropped to low levels by June and restrictions were gradually lifted, while schools remained closed for summer break. Pubs remained shut, the longest such closure in Europe. [28] In August, a three-week regional lockdown was imposed in three counties following a spike in cases linked to meat processing plants. [29] [30] Schools re-opened in September. This was followed by a surge in cases, and in October another statewide lockdown was imposed, excluding schools. [31] [32] In early December, Ireland's infection rate was the lowest in the European Union, [33] and restrictions were eased. [34]

There was another surge in late December, [35] and on Christmas Eve, another statewide lockdown was imposed. [36] This was soon tightened to include schools, and was one of the strictest in the world. [37] On St Stephen's Day, the first shipment of the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrived, [38] and vaccinations began on 29 December. [39] In February 2021, the government imposed testing and quarantine rules on all incoming travellers for the first time. [40] Serious cases fell sharply, and schools re-opened in March. The lockdown began to be gradually lifted from May, although unlike most of Europe, indoor hospitality remained shut. [41] Another surge occurred in July and indoor hospitality reopened under strict guidelines, while vaccinations ramped up. [42] [43] Despite Ireland's high vaccination rate, a further surge occurred in October.

In addition to the major strain on Ireland's healthcare service, the pandemic has had a severe impact on Ireland's economy, caused major disruptions to education and had far-reaching impacts on society, including political, religious, artistic and sporting.

By 27 November 2021, the Department of Health had confirmed 556,319 cases and 5,652 deaths. [nb 1] [5] [2] More than 90% of those who died were aged over 65, [44] and 93% had underlying conditions [45] or lived in care homes with a median age of death at 82 years old. [46] [47] As of 26 November 2021, 3,617,410 people had received the first dose of a vaccine, [lower-alpha 1] 3,551,915 had received their second dose [lower-alpha 2] and 236,399 had received a single dose, bringing the total of vaccines administered to 7,405,724. [6]


The surveillance of COVID-19 cases has been integrated into the existing national Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting (CIDR) system since COVID-19 was made a notifiable disease on 20 February 2020. CIDR is the information system used to manage the surveillance and control of infectious diseases in Ireland, both at regional and national level. [49] Daily epidemiological reports on COVID-19 are prepared by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) for the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). [50] Additional information, including the actual dates of the backlogged cases announced on 10 April 2020, is provided by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in its daily operations updates. [4]

By 27 November 2021, the Department of Health had confirmed 556,319 cases and 5,652 deaths; [nb 1] [5] [2] a rate of 110,930 cases per million, 1,127 deaths per million and 1,747,187 tests per million population. [51]