The Northern Ireland Executive have set out their plans to deal with Covid-19 over the coming winter in a bid to contain the infection rate of the virus, but at the same time keeping the economy ticking over as smoothly as possible. The plans include using Covid status certifications in high risk settings if required and the retention of face coverings to be worn in public indoor settings.
A Need To Stay Vigilant
The Executive have reiterated the need to be vigilant over the winter so that hospitalisations as a result of coronavirus remain low. The threat of the virus has not gone away so it is vital that measures are put in place to reduce the infection rate and that businesses and the public adhere to those measures.
Retention Of Face Coverings In Public Indoor Settings
Here are details on the measures as copied from an article on the Belfast Live website:
- `The retention of a legal requirement for face coverings in public indoor settings
- The continued legal requirement for risk assessments to be carried out in certain settings and for visitor and attendee details to be recorded to support the work of the Test, Trace and Protect system
`The statement continued: “In addition we will also retain a focus on flexible and hybrid working to reduce the number of contacts that take place in work settings – recognising that employers are well placed to engage with their workforce on the model that best suits their business.”
`In the event that case numbers rise sharply or hospital pressures become unsustainable, the Autumn/Winter Plan sets out a number of potential contingency measures which the Executive may decide to use:
- `More focused communications to emphasise the risk and the need for everyone to act immediately
- The potential to deploy Covid status certification in higher risk settings if considered appropriate and necessary
- A strengthening of arrangements for self-isolation for close contacts
- A re-imposition of a legal requirement for minimum social distancing in prescribed settings
`Paul Givan and Michelle O’Neill said: “We have all come a long way together over the last 19 months and these worst of times have brought out the best in people. There has been a huge societal effort to slow the spread of the virus and, in following the public health advice, many lives have been saved.
The Threat From The Virus Remains
“We need that effort to continue. The threat from the virus remains and if we are to continue to keep our society as open as possible and retain the progress we have made, then everyone must continue to stick to the public health advice.”
It would be a disaster of epic proportions if we ended up in another hard lockdown, with the NHS under huge pressure as more people became ill with Covid-19, so let us hope that we can avert such a scenario and we can all go about our daily lives.