Responding to the revelations that an East Belfast community has recorded more COVID-19 deaths than any other community across the north, Sinn Fein Health Spokesperson Colm Gildernew has said that the Department of Health must make tangible and immediate efforts to tackle health inequalities.
Speaking Colm Gildernew said:
“In recent days it has been confirmed that our more deprived and densely populated communities have been impacted most by the COVID-19 pandemic. One area of East Belfast has recorded the most deaths due to the virus, according to NISRA.
“Areas of high deprivation are known to have ongoing and largely unaddressed underlying health conditions such as obesity, respiratory disease and various cancers.
“As the pandemic took hold in recent months, it is clear that inequalities in health, housing and income have become even more deadly for our citizens who are trapped in areas of high deprivation.
“I am deeply concerned that a potential second wave of COVID-19 in the future could be even more deadly.
“A second wave would be likely to disproportionately affect deprived communities where underlying conditions are even more life-threatening and low income inhibits the ability of the poor to access face masks and hygiene products.
“Immediate action is needed across all departments, and in particular the Department of Health, to prepare our more deprived communities for the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19.”