| 6.7°C Belfast

Coronavirus: Northern Ireland public warned against complacency over Easter

Close

Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride (Liam McBurney/PA)

Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride (Liam McBurney/PA)

There are "emerging signs" the lockdown is working to reduce the impact of the coronavirus crisis in Northern Ireland, the chief medical officer has said.

Dr Michael McBride, who was speaking at Tuesday's Executive press conference, urged the public not to become complacent as the Easter holidays approach this weekend.

"I can indicate today that there are emerging signs that these actions are making a difference, but complacency at this time remains our challenge," he said.

"We need to stick those measures... they will save lives. Now is not the time to relax those measures. Social distancing must be maintained in the days and the weeks ahead."

Acknowledging the social-distancing measures are difficult, he added: "So please everyone keep doing what we are doing."

Dr McBride also stressed that recruiting here must start soon on drugs trials in the fight against coronavirus.

Health Minister Robin Swann revealed that a further 96 Covid-19 related patients had been admitted to hospital since Monday.

He added that 55 Covid-19 patients are currently in critical care.

Just because the sun is out doesn't mean you have to be out of your homes Robin Swann

Mr Swann told the briefing he is confident that staff have access to the right Personal Protection Equipment and emphasised that he would not allow or tolerate health workers being put in danger as a result of inadequate PPE.

"We do have sufficient PPE supply for the current demand and I and my staff working along with the Department of Finance are working hard to secure more supplies for any future demand or second surge later in the year," he said.

"We must never become complacent so I would much prefer to come out the other side of this pandemic with far too much PPE remaining in stock than not enough."

Mr Swann said the number of ventilators had increased to 197, with more on order.

He also revealed that the health service workforce appeal had led to 15,895 expressions of interest, with 937 formal applications.

A total of 230 applicants have been either appointed or are waiting for appointment, he added.

Belfast Telegraph