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Coronavirus: Health clinicians sign open letter urging social distancing in Northern Ireland

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An open letter demanding that Stormont politicians implement major social distancing measures has been signed online by hundreds of health clinicians here

An open letter demanding that Stormont politicians implement major social distancing measures has been signed online by hundreds of health clinicians here

An open letter demanding that Stormont politicians implement major social distancing measures has been signed online by hundreds of health clinicians here

An open letter demanding that Stormont politicians implement major social distancing measures has been signed online by hundreds of health clinicians here.

The letter - which has over 680 signatures from consultants, GPs and nurses - is addressed directly to the Health Minister Robin Swann and the First Minister Arlene Foster.

It is calling the Executive to adopt "social distancing measures to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2" in line with the Republic.

As of yesterday there were 52 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Northern Ireland.

However, the letter by healthcare professionals in Health and Social Care Northern Ireland (HSCNI) claims it is "plausible" there may be as many as 900 or more unconfirmed cases due to the lack of testing. Those behind the letter also say that the NHS here is "in the worst shape of any part" of the UK in coping with the virus.

They add it is possible that without such social distancing measures, Northern Ireland could require around 180 critical care beds every fortnight to deal with demand, with the service only currently operating around 100 such beds.

Widespread social distancing involving the shutting of schools, hospitality facilities and workplaces has been adopted across much of Europe. As of yet, the Health Minister here has been reluctant to deviate from the position of the UK medical authorities and Government.

The letter calls on such measures to be introduced in Northern Ireland "without delay to avoid large scale, avoidable loss of life".

Belfast Telegraph