By Oisin Sweeney • 15 December 2020 • 21:47
CORONAVIRUS patients were treated in ambulances parked outside an Antrim hospital as Northern Ireland battles one of its darkest phases of the pandemic.
Ambulances were forced to queue outside medical centres across Northern Ireland as the country’s hospital capacity rises to 104%. Recent lockdown efforts to curb the spread of cases have failed according to experts, with many warning that Northern Ireland could be heading towards one of the worst periods of its pandemic.
Northern Trust’s director told RTE she had “never seen anything like this before in my life”. The BBC reports that Chief Scientific Advisor Ian Young said: “These are older frail, sick people and unfortunately they are being delayed in ambulances because we simply have no room to bring these patients into our emergency departments”.
First Minister Arlene Foster met with other UK leaders to discuss the easing of lockdown restrictions over Christmas and will meet with Belfast Ministers on Thursday to discuss Northern Ireland’s new approach given the surge in cases. The Stormont government is facing calls from medical professionals to impose new restrictions instead of relaxing lockdown measures to curb the spread of the virus.
Northern Ireland has recorded 486 cases in 24 hours, with an overall death count of 1135 since the pandemic began. Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride said that the country is facing one of the most difficult periods of the pandemic due to the failure of lockdown efforts to decrease the rate of infections. He told RTE “the circumstances we are currently facing are extremely troubling – we are not where we need to be or should be in terms of the transmission of the virus”.
Northern Ireland’s public has been urged to cease socialising if they intend to attend Christmas gatherings where elderly or vulnerable relatives will be present. Lawmakers in Belfast are expected to announce Christmas restriction rules in the next few days.
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Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...
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