Concerns have been expressed about the further easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland as infection rates have remained high.
Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen for the first time since the start of the lockdown while social distancing in pubs and restaurants will be reduced to guidance.
Northern Ireland’s daily infection rate has remained over 1,000 since July with hospitals over 100% occupancy this week.
Health officials confirmed 1,019 new cases today with four further deaths.
According to Dr. Frances O’Hagan from the British Medical Association, medics are “very concerned” and has advocated for the use of Covid-19 vaccination passports.
However, ministers have been unable to agree to make them mandatory in hospitality venues.
“We as medics are very concerned about the situation that is facing us at the minute,”.
O’Hagan stated, “In both our hospitals and in our primary care we are really, really stretched. In the past week, we have been operating at 107% in our hospitals. The hospitals are 100% full and there are 7% extra people in hospitals who don’t have a bed.”
While understanding that the economy has to reopen again, she stated that we must look at other jurisdictions and countries that have reopened but achieved this by looking to see who is vaccinated and who isn’t.
She reiterated that one in four 18-29-year-olds are not vaccinated while adding, “Those are the people likely to go to the nightclubs, so are we really saying that it makes sense to let all those people into the nightclubs without looking at their vaccination (status)?”
IMAGE (left) – “Cheers! Dublin Style” by Zach Dischner is licensed under CC BY 2.0