Chief Medical Officers in Ireland and Northern Ireland have united to issue an urgent plea to the public to stay at home.
Dr Michael McBride, CMO in Northern Ireland, and Dr Tony Holohan, chair of NPHET, issued a joint statement today calling on everyone to follow public health measures to protect healthcare services on both sides of the border.
They said: “As CMOs, we are gravely concerned about the unsustainably high level of COVID-19 infection we are experiencing on the island of Ireland. This is having a significant impact on the health of our population and the safe functioning of our healthcare systems.
“Unfortunately, due to the surge of infections we have experienced over the past few weeks, we have seen an increase in mortality figures and our health systems have been placed under immense pressure. We are likely to see ongoing increases in hospitalisations, ICU admissions and mortality in the weeks ahead.”
Both CMOs are strongly urging everyone to stay at home except for essential reasons, and to avoid all unnecessary journeys, including cross-border travel.
They said: “Many of the patients admitted to hospital in January have been under the age of 65 years. COVID-19 can affect us all, regardless of age or underlying condition. It highlights the need for us all to protect one another by staying at home. Not only will you keep yourself and your loved ones safe, but also help to save lives and avoid more preventable COVID-19 admissions to our currently struggling healthcare systems.
“We will continue to work together to protect public health across the island, as we have done throughout this pandemic, but we need everyone to play their part by staying at home and protecting themselves and their communities.”