Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson`s launch of the new 3 tier system in England to help damp down the increasing rise in coronavirus infections there, Stormont officials are under increasing pressure to act to stem the rise here in Northern Ireland. They are meeting later today to discuss this very subject, although it is believed there are widely differing opinions over how to tackle this crisis. If they do agree to any new measures being introduced they are likely to come into force on Friday of this week.
Businesses Affected Must Be Supported
If stricter measures are introduced then it is likely they will last for a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks. Looking at this from a business imperative it is absolutely crucial that if further restrictions are introduced they must back this up with a plan to help all the businesses that will be affected by them in order for them to stay solvent and be able to trade in the future.
Coronavirus Statistics In Northern Ireland
Looking at the latest statistics on coronavirus infections in Northern Ireland the BBC website has these figures:
“On Monday, a further 877 cases were recorded by the department, bringing Northern Ireland’s total to 21,035 – more than a quarter of which have been recorded in the past seven days.
“The department’s death toll stands at 591.
“According to departmental data, there are 140 Covid inpatients in NI’s hospitals and 22 patients in intensive care, 15 of whom are being ventilated.
“In the Derry City and Strabane council area, the UK’s worst-hit area, the Covid infection rate is 919 per 100,000 of the population in the past week.
“Belfast has the eighth-highest rate of infection in the UK, with 432 cases per 100,000 people in the week ending 9 October, according to figures just released from the BBC Data unit.
“Tighter restrictions have been in force there since 5 October, but the Western Trust said hospital admissions were doubling every three to four days.
Stormont Health Officials Grave Concerns
“Stormont health officials have expressed alarm at the situation, saying that if wider actions are not implemented by Friday, there will be serious implications for the health service.
“Full details have not been divulged – but it is understood Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride and Chief Scientific Adviser Prof Ian Young have set out a range of options for ministers to consider.
“It is believed ministers will be asked to weigh up further restrictions on hospitality and assess the impact of closing schools for a short period, to try to lower Northern Ireland’s R-number.
“The R-number represents the number of individuals who, on average, will be infected by a single person with coronavirus.
“In Northern Ireland it is currently estimated to be at about 1.5, but officials say the executive and the public must endeavour to get it back below one.
“It is thought that bringing in measures for six weeks would have the maximum effect ahead of the Christmas holidays, but the executive will have the final say on any decisions.”
So we wait with bated breath for further announcements on the coronavirus crisis. Our businesses and employees need all the help they can get to pull through this period, let`s hope that this is clearly understood so that they can survive this crisis and look forward to brighter times ahead.