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Coronavirus restrictions: Healthcare workers in Northern Ireland get no ruling on socialising

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First Minister Arlene Foster announced during Thursday's press conference that information will be provided to healthcare workers in relation to socialising. Belfast. Stock image

First Minister Arlene Foster announced during Thursday's press conference that information will be provided to healthcare workers in relation to socialising. Belfast. Stock image

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty

First Minister Arlene Foster announced during Thursday's press conference that information will be provided to healthcare workers in relation to socialising. Belfast. Stock image

The Executive Office was silent last night on details of advice for health workers around socialising when they are not at work.

First Minister Arlene Foster announced during Thursday's press conference that information will be provided to healthcare workers in relation to socialising.

The Executive Office did not respond to a request for a comment, while the Department of Health said that an update would be communicated "in due course".

It comes as health bosses work hard to suppress the growing number of Covid-19 cases being diagnosed every day in Northern Ireland.

Last night the Southern Trust - which has been dealing with an outbreak at Craigavon Area Hospital - suspended all visits across its sites.

A series of local restrictions were revealed by Ms Foster during her first appearance on the podium at a Covid-19 briefing for a number of months.

There are growing concerns over the possibility that healthcare staff may be inadvertently carrying the virus into hospitals after it was reported last week that a birthday party at a restaurant attended by nurses is being investigated as a possible link to coronavirus clusters at Craigavon Area Hospital.

Four patients at the hospital who tested positive for Covid-19 have died since the beginning of the clusters.

It is understood that medical unions have not been made aware of any guidance that is to be issued to healthcare workers.

It comes as SDLP MLA Justin McNulty expressed concern after reports of positive Covid-19 cases among medical staff at Daisy Hill Hospital.

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SDLP MLA Justin McNulty

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty

The Newry and Armagh MLA said he had been contacted by staff within the Newry hospital and advised that two members of a medical team within a ward had tested positive for Covid-19

Mr McNulty added that the staff members involved were now off work and self-isolating.

The SDLP MLA said he was concerned "there are some members of staff on the same ward and indeed patients and their families who have not been advised of this development".

"I understand that no extra cleaning of the ward or wards concerned has taken place. When staff raised concerns, I am told they were advised that they were ok because they were wearing PPE," Mr McNulty said.

Belfast Telegraph