Ireland currently has one of the lowest number of people in hospital or intensive care being treated for Covid-19, for every million of the population, according to an updated review of 19 countries by the Health Information & Quality Authority.

The situation in Ireland was only surpassed by Czechia, Denmark, Israel and Norway.

The international review for public health measures has found that restrictions continue to be eased across 18 of the 19 countries examined.

Portugal was the exception, where regional Covid-19 restrictions have been reintroduced.

The pace of easing differs between countries and the numbers allowed at public and private gatherings has varied widely.

HIQA said that the latest data shows increasing Covid-19 incidence rates in over half of the countries included in the review, likely due to the Delta variant.

It found that in the EU, Spain and Germany have the highest share of population that is fully vaccinated at 39.5% and 37.6% respectively. Ireland is at 36.2%.

HIQA's Director of HTA, Dr Mairin Ryan, said: "We need to remain cautious. While our rate of hospitalisations and ICU admissions is low, incidence rates are rising, which suggests an increase in hospitalisations may be ahead of us.

"The Covid-19 vaccine remains the best method to limit the spread of SARs-CoV-2 and safeguard against serious illness."

However, the latest figures show that the number of people with Covid-19 in hospital has increased to 73 today.

It represents an increase of 11 patients on the number reported yesterday.

The number of patients in ICU has increased by three to 20 today.

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HSE CEO Paul Reid said that Ireland's vaccination programme would "ultimately out manoeuvre the virus and Delta".

In a tweet this morning, he said that over 58% of adults are fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, a Covid adviser to the Irish College of GPs has said that while GPs are always willing to help, they will not have any role in providing Covid recovery certificates.

Dr Mary Favier said there was "something of a sharp intake of breath across general practice in Ireland" yesterday morning when Minister Catherine Martin suggested that GPs would play a part in issuing the certificates.

Dr Favier told the programme that one GP almost crashed the car upon hearing the news.

She said GPs are not in a position to provide any credible documentation, pointing out that they have not been receiving any Covid results for patients for the last nine weeks because of the cyber attack on the HSE.

Dr Denis McCauley, a GP and chair of the IMO's GP committee, said the certs need to be issued from "one unified source", and he said, general practitioners "can't be that source".

He said GPs will have no involvement in issuing certificates to those who have recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, Dr McCauley said having different certificates issued by various GPs would be "completely chaotic".

In Northern Ireland, a further 636 cases of Covid-19 have been reported.

The Department of Health said one further coronavirus-linked death has also been reported, bringing the toll to 2,159.

As of this morning there were 72 Covid-19 positive patients in hospital, with two in intensive care.

To date, 2,137,591 vaccines have been administered in Northern Ireland.