Health Minister Robin Swann has pledged that decisive action will continue to be taken to combat the spread of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland. The Minister said Executive interventions must be accompanied by a concerted community-wide effort to get the virus back under control.
“The data on additional positive cases in Northern Ireland continues to be deeply disturbing. Sadly, it was announced on Sunday that another person has passed away.
“I really hope that by now everyone is fully aware of the scale of the crisis we are facing. Our hospitals are already under growing pressure and this will inevitably intensify in the coming weeks given the extent of the new cases.
“Concrete action has been taken by Executive on a number of fronts and I will not hesitate to recommend further restrictions. Saving lives and protecting our health service must come first.
“Household contacts have been severely curtailed across Northern Ireland and more intensive restrictions have been introduced for Derry and Strabane local government district, in light of the data for that council area.
“Additional planned interventions are under active consideration. I continue to be very mindful of the adverse consequences of this pandemic on society and the economy. I do not want a return to a long-term or indefinite lockdown.”
Mr Swann said: “The health service and the Executive have particularly heavy responsibilities at this time but we cannot fight this virus on our own. We need the whole community to rally round and to strictly follow the public health advice.
“Social distancing is not an optional extra. Unless we significantly reduce our contacts with each other, Covid-19 cases will continue to grow, hospital admissions will increase and more lives will be lost. Alongside social distancing, hand washing and wearing a face covering remain vital to keeping each other safe.”
Urging everyone to adhere to the regulations and guidance now in place, the Minister added: “The restrictions are based on a fundamental irrefutable principle – cutting down contacts between people is a proven way of reducing the spread of the virus.
“I would appeal to people not to look for loopholes or grey areas in the regulations. Let’s all take responsibility for our own actions and do everything we can to look after each other.”
The Minister concluded by thanking all those who have been reinforcing key public health messages in Northern Ireland at this critical time, including elected representatives and community and sectoral representatives.