COVID 19: North’s Covid crisis could repeat in State if situation allowed ‘go out of control’ – Taoiseach

Hospital bed occupancy in Northern Ireland at 105% after 17 ambulance queue in Antrim

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has warned that the Covid-19 crisis in the North could happen in the State “if we allow things to go out of control”.

The latest figures from the North’s Department of Health show hospital bed occupancy in Northern Ireland is now at 105 per cent.

Expressing solidarity with Northern Ireland where patients were being treated in rows of ambulances outside hospitals because of the lack of beds and increasing incidence of the virus, Mr Martin said the situation there was “very, very worrying and concerning”.

He said the issue would be discussed at the North-South ministerial Council meeting on Friday and “we will work with our colleagues in the Northern Executive”.

He believed the North’s Minister for Health Robin Swann had led well throughout the crisis as he faced a challenging situation.

“It’s a multi- party Executive and that does create its own challenges,” he said.

Mr Martin added that “it also illustrates the exponential growth of the virus once it gets to a certain critical level and we in the Republic need to take note of what’s happening in the North in terms of how we behave collectively and individually”.

Warning that “every contact matters”, he said “what we’re witnessing in Northern Ireland could happen here if we allow things to go out of control – which we’re not going to do”.

With increasing pressures on the Northern Ireland health service due to Covid-19 and general winter pressures the North’s health department also reported on Wednesday afternoon that currently 457 patients are receiving treatment for coronavirus in hospitals .

Of these 32 patients are being treated in intensive care with 25 of them on ventilators.

The department also recorded eight more Covid-19 deaths taking the total to 1,143. There were 510 new cases of the virus, bringing the total to 59,631 cases.

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