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Coronavirus: Anger over street parties being held in parts of Derry


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Concerns: John Boyle

Concerns: John Boyle

Concerns: John Boyle

Calls have been made for a halt to street parties in parts of Londonderry amid concerns they will lead to an increase in coronavirus cases.

SDLP councillor John Boyle said people need to adhere to the rules of social distancing while restrictions remain in place in order to save lives.

Evidence of street parties taking place across Derry has appeared on social media over the past week with several reportedly being staged over the weekend.

Mr Boyle said: "I am very concerned about this particular development because until now, while the majority of people have and continue to practise and take the advice they have been given, there are clearly a small number of people who are ignoring that advice.

"They are engaging and organising street parties and I want to appeal to them to think about what they are doing, think about the number of people in Derry and Strabane diagnosed with coronavirus or who have sadly died from the virus, which are really low in comparison to other areas.

"If people make the sacrifice of staying at home, staying in their own gardens during good weather, then those figures will stay relatively low and we will get out of lockdown sooner.

"Failure to practise social distancing, which is what is happening at these street parties, the net effect will be we will all be in lockdown for longer."

Street parties have taken place across the city on both sides of the River Foyle in recent days.

Among the areas where they have been organised is Galliagh, which has caused anxiety among high-risk residents, according to Community Restorative Justice member Martin Connelly.

He explained: "There have been a few locally which start off great at around 7pm, but by 10pm there's people clearly breaking the guidance on social distancing.

"Quite a lot of people are concerned about the complacency that is creeping in, especially our older residents, who are feeling scared.

"No one is trying to be a killjoy, there have been so many really good things which have been organised, like the street fitness classes or the street bingo where people have a bit of craic from their own garden.

"Derry has been doing so well and the people have been amazing - everyone has played their part.

"We have one of the lowest number of coronavirus cases because of how brilliant people have been but we also need to keep doing what we have been doing."

"But it has to be said, these street parties are worrying because they could lead to the spread of the virus and no one wants that, not when we have come so far," Mr Connelly added.

Belfast Telegraph