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Source: Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has made an urgent plea to people, businesses and communities across the North to closely follow new restrictions announced by the Executive to keep each other safe as Covid cases remain consistently high.

The Foyle MP has also called on the British Prime Minister to make urgent resource available to ensure that no one is forced to choose between securing their health or their income.

Colum Eastwood MP said:

“The consistently high numbers of new cases of Covid-19 across the North is an emergency that will become a full blown crisis in the winter if people don’t take this seriously and follow the new restrictions to the letter. We know that we are in a lag period between increasing cases, hospital admissions and deaths from this virus.

“I know the additional restrictions announced today are not what people wanted to hear. It is not the position that I want us to be in. However, without an immediate intervention, I am worried about the ability of our hospitals and frontline healthcare staff to cope with a second wave in the middle of the busier winter period. I’m also worried about what a critical situation in the busiest trading time of the year will mean for workers and businesses across the North. We have the power to do something about it.

“I have asked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to make a direct financial intervention today to provide additional support for workers and businesses who will be affected by these restrictions. Under the current furlough terms, we will be asking minimum wage workers to survive until the end of the month on 60% of their income. If we want people to comply by these new rules, we need to make it possible for workers to stay at home. Otherwise too many people will be faced with a choice between securing their health or their income. That is an impossible position.

“We all know what’s happening in our communities, we all have more friends and colleagues self-isolating. This is the right thing to do. But we need to provide support and guidance to allow people to comply.”

MIL OSI United Kingdom