Ulster Unionist leader, Steve Aiken OBE MLA, has called for a united response to the latest announcements made in the fight against Covid-19.
Mr Aiken said:
“All Executive Ministers and their parties need to get behind these important decisions for the good of the people of Northern Ireland and the Health Service. Nobody should underestimate how difficult these decisions are, given the implications for wider society.
“There has been an exponential rise in infections, increasing numbers of ICU patients admitted to our hospitals and a danger that our Health Service could be overwhelmed unless urgent action is taken. We have reached the point where difficult decisions needed to be made and which required a serious, meaningful intervention to bring the infection rate down, save lives and protect the Health Service.
“The Belfast Nightingale Hospital has been reactivated to make more beds available to treat Covid-19 patients, but we must also face the reality that our National Health Service has a limited number of staff. 100 nurses are needed for 15 ICU beds and nurses and anaesthetists can`t be trained in the space of months.
“I`m glad that the Executive was able to unanimously agree to make an intervention to try and bring infection rates down so that we can fully reopen our schools and business sector as soon as possible. Nobody wants to see our schools closed for a day longer than need be and nobody wants to see further pressures on local businesses. We all have individual responsibility to play our part in working together to bring transmission rates down and abide by the new regulations and guidelines.”