A Sinn Féin delegation met with the Public Health Agency’s COVID-19 contact tracing team to seek assurances that the system can operate effectively as restrictions are lifted.
Speaking after the meeting, Sinn Féin health spokesperson Colm Gildernew said:
“Effective contact tracing has an invaluable role to play in stopping transmission, which becomes more important as restrictions are lifted.
“It is important the lessons from last September and October are learned where we witnessed frightening numbers of close contacts and cases not being contacted.
“Introducing a digital-first approach was a way to bridge the gap but there can be no substitute for a motivated and compassionate contact tracer directly getting in touch and offering support to individuals.
“I have long called for a new public health-led strategy, centred on the international best practice advocated by the World Health Organisation find, test, trace, isolate and support.
“As we see further restrictions being eased, the risk of increased social contact either at work or between households could lead to further outbreaks, clusters and surges.
“It is important we do everything we can to avoid that.”