Latest Ministerial statement on COVID-19 shows responsibility on each of us, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said the latest Ministerial statement on COVID-19 shows each of us has an earnest responsibility to combating the pandemic.

Her comments came as the first coronavirus-related death in Northern Ireland was confirmed. The elderly male had an underlying medical condition. Health Minister Robin Swann later outlined plans to the Assembly on dealing with a surge of the virus.

“I was sorry to hear today of the first death associated with the coronavirus in Northern Ireland, and my sympathy goes out to the family and friends of the deceased,” said Ms Bradshaw.

“That sad event and the Minister’s statement today show just how grave the challenge ahead of us is. Even on current social distancing advice, we would arrive at a peak potentially of approaching 400,000 people in Northern Ireland being infected over a single three-week period. Although most would have mild symptoms, requiring them only to stay at home for a few weeks, potentially over 30,000 would require hospitalisation during that time.

“Clearly we will have to work to bring these numbers down so that fewer people are infected, and that fewer people are infected at any one time.

“To say this is a public health emergency is an understatement. It should be evident this is an unprecedented challenge and is not just a matter for our wonderful health and social care staff. It requires each and every one of us to play our part in going along with the advice of the Public Health Agency and ensuring we do what we can to help at-risk groups.”