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Editor's Viewpoint

Heroes working for a better tomorrow

Editor's Viewpoint


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Staff from Belfast City Hospital and the Royal Victoria Hospital stand in silent tribute to colleagues ealrier this week

Staff from Belfast City Hospital and the Royal Victoria Hospital stand in silent tribute to colleagues ealrier this week

Staff from Belfast City Hospital and the Royal Victoria Hospital stand in silent tribute to colleagues ealrier this week

Imagine it is your first job and it entails you being part of the NHS teams battling coronavirus. That is the situation for young doctors and nurses who have had their graduations brought forward so that they can become part of the frontline of heroes.

For, as our interviews with recently graduated nurses in Northern Ireland reveal, they were given a choice - they were not forced to take up those risky posts. That is real courage. They could have opted out for safer assignments.

They know that not only do they run the risk of being infected, but they could also bring the virus home to their families.

Facing a disease with no cure was not the job they signed up for when they began their journeys to become nurses. Their burning desire was to help people in times of illness; theirs is a vocation, not simply a job, and we should never stop giving thanks for their altruism and dedication.

Of course there are many other heroes, especially the care home and community care workers whose clients are among the most vulnerable in society, and they are being asked to do their job with only the minimum of personal protective equipment.

Indeed, all those who leave the safety of their home to provide essential services for the rest of us deserve the title 'heroes'.

As Health Minister Robin Swann pointed out yesterday, our only defence against the spread of the disease is remaining in lockdown, self-distancing when forced to go out, and repeated handwashing.

With worrying signs - for example, the 20% increase in traffic - that more people are flouting the restrictions, it must be emphasised at every opportunity that such actions not only endanger their own lives but also the lives of anyone they come in contact with.

It is welcome news that Northern Ireland has passed the peak of infections, as evidenced by reducing numbers of intensive care unit patients and hospital admissions, but that does not mean the virus has lost any of its lethal potential. It is just that it is being given less opportunity to find new victims.

There is one hero everyone will remember from this pandemic - Captain Tom Moore, who celebrated his 100th birthday yesterday as his fundraising for the NHS passed an astounding £31m. We should heed his wise words: tomorrow will be a good day. Every day we survive this crisis is a good day so let us not endanger our futures.

Belfast Telegraph