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Editor's Viewpoint

Complacency is our enemy during coronavirus crisis

Editor's Viewpoint


Dr Michael McBride

Dr Michael McBride

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Dr Michael McBride

Northern Ireland's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride, hit exactly the right note when he said yesterday that complacency is our greatest enemy in the fight against coronavirus.

As the virtual lockdown continues there is an inclination to believe that perhaps the future outlook may not be as bleak as forecast.

But if any one case should shake us out of that complacency it was the shock announcement that the Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been admitted to hospital and then to intensive care as his condition worsened. He is a man who had all the available information on the pandemic at his fingertips and could also call on the best medical care - and yet he has been struck down by the virus.

What that proves is that no one is immune from the disease. Social distancing is the only way to slow down its spread and give the heroes of the NHS the breathing space to treat those who fall critically ill. Failure to observe this most basic precaution is inexcusable.

Already we have had stern warnings from medical experts and the PSNI for people to stay at their homes this Easter weekend. Yet it seems some are determined to flout the advice. In Donegal, local people have reacted angrily to second-homers arriving in the area already.

How can we possibly get through to those people that they are endangering their own lives and the lives of others. Could they live with the knowledge that through their flouting of the rules they could be responsible for someone's death, or maybe multiple deaths? What if any of those deaths were in their own family circle?

People like frontline healthcare workers, those in community care, people working in supermarkets or essential services are leaving their homes each day to save lives or provide vital goods and services to the public. And that work carries a risk of infection. All we are being asked to do is stay in our homes - hardly the most onerous task.

As well as the idiots who flout the rules, special words of admonition are due to those trolls who have posted the most vile comments online about the Prime Minister and his illness. These people are not just scraping the bottom of the barrel, they are plumbing the depths of the sewers.

We join with those from around the world who have sent good wishes for a speedy recovery to the Prime Minister at this time of national crisis.

Belfast Telegraph