Do your bit and remain at home

Do your bit and remain at home

13 January 2021

NEWS that Newry, Mourne and Down is the worst area for coronavirus infections in Northern Ireland has prompted an appeal from the distriwct’s first citizen for people to stay at home.

Council chairwoman Laura Devlin said people must adhere to the latest pubic health advice after it was confirmed on Monday that the so-called seven day incidence rate was just over 800 infections per 100,000 people across the local authority area.

There are major concerns about the worrying situation in the southern end of the constituency, with Cllr Devlin appealing to people to comply with stay at home regulations to help save lives as concerns grow over severe pressures on the NHS.

She said it was vital that following a joint statement issued at the weekend by the province’s health trusts on the worsening situation that people stay at home to protect themselves, their loved ones and wider community. 

Cllr Devlin said everyone will be acutely aware of what she described as the “disturbing rise” in coronavirus cases over recent weeks and the resulting strain on hospitals. 

She continued: “Last weekend was the busiest for health trusts since the start of the pandemic with off-duty staff responding 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.”

The council chairwoman highlighted the need to reduce infection rates across the district to try and

ensure that 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,” she declared in her message to the district’s citizens.

“The stay at home order is now legally enforceable and you cannot leave without a reasonable excuse which includes medical reasons, food shopping, exercise and work that cannot be done from home.”

Cllr Devlin said there had also been a visible increase in policing to help enforce these new regulations.

She said anyone leaving home to exercise, is not permitted to travel more than 10 miles, revealing that the district’s forest and country parks, coasts, mountains and outdoor sites were extremely busy in recent weeks. 

She also appealed to anyone who arrives at any of these locations and crowd numbers make social distancing difficult, they should find an alternative place to exercise. 

“Ultimately, this is about personal responsibility,” declared Cllr Devlin.

“The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home. Before you reach for the car keys, ask yourself is your journey really necessary. 

“I know many have been following this guidance and encouraging others to do so and want to thank people for all their efforts and ask everyone to keep going at this worrying time.”

She added: “For those who know that they could be doing more, please redouble your efforts for everyone’s sake. 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.”

Full details of the latest Covid-19 restrictions are available at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-regulations-guidance-what-restrictions-mean-you.