Sinn Féin Leas Uachtarán Michelle O’Neill has said a maximum coordinated approach is required across the island and throughout these islands in the ongoing fightback against COVID-19.
Speaking after taking part in COBR call with the British prime minister and leaders of the political institutions of the North, Scotland and Wales, Michelle O’Neill said:
“It is clear we are now in a dangerous position in our battle against COVID-19.
“All decisions we will take will be made on the risk posed here and on the basis of the scientific and medical advice pertaining to the north.
“It is clear we need a coordinated approach throughout these islands and particularly across this island as a single epidemiological unit and that we maximise the protection that gives us.
“This is first and foremost a public health emergency and we need to act to save lives.
“We also need to protect jobs and at this morning’s meeting I raised the necessity to extend the furlough scheme or an alternative to support workers and their families.
“Businesses are also concerned about what will happen if further restrictions become necessary and I raised those concerns directly at this morning’s meeting, as well as calling for clarity on financial support for those who are self-isolating.
“We also need to ensure we are prepared for the coming winter months and the pressure that will bring to our health service and I directly raised the issue of COVID-19 testing capacity and availability of PPE.
“It is essential that there is enough capacity in the testing system so we can continue to test, trace and isolate as part of our fight-back.
“All of this is about saving people’s lives and keeping people safe and we all have a role to play in that.”