NEWRY, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Laura Devlin has urged all residents to comply with the 'Stay At Home' regulations and help save lives as concerns grow over pressures on the NHS.
Following the new Northern Ireland Executive Covid-19 restrictions which came into force on 8 January, and a joint statement from health trusts at the weekend on the very serious situation facing our hospitals, Cllr Devlin said: “You must Stay At Home to protect yourself, your loved ones and the wider community.
“You will be aware of the disturbing rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks and the resulting strain on our hospitals. This weekend was the busiest for health trusts since the start of the pandemic. Off-duty staff responded to calls from the Southern Trust to help avoid a crisis and we are indebted to them.
"But this is a very concerning situation and the six health trusts have warned that by the third week in January, Northern Ireland hospitals could be dealing with double the number of COVID patients we are currently seeing.
“We need to get case numbers down in the district to try to ensure both Covid and non-Covid patients get the care they urgently need. All that our hard-working health care professionals want you to do is to stay at home if you possibly can.
“The Stay At Home order is now legally enforceable, and you cannot leave without a reasonable excuse. A reasonable excuse to leave home is one such as for medical reasons, food shopping, exercise and work that cannot be done from home, and there is an increase in visible policing to help enforce these new regulations.
“If you are leaving home to exercise, you should not travel more than 10 miles. Our forest and country parks, coasts, mountains and outdoor sites across the district were extremely busy in recent weeks. So, if you arrive at a destination and crowds make social distancing difficult, you should find an alternative place to exercise.
“Ultimately, this is about personal responsibility. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home. So, before you reach for the car keys, ask yourself if your journey is really necessary.
“I know many of you have been following this guidance and encouraging others to do so. I want to thank you for all your efforts and I ask you to keep going at this worrying time. For those who know they could be doing more – please redouble your efforts for all our sakes. I don’t want it to be you or one or your loved ones in urgent need of hospital care. This is about saving lives.”
For details of the latest NI Executive COVID-19 restrictions visit: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-regulations-guidance-what-restrictions-mean-you