Robin Swann says a return to restrictions cannot be ruled out – .

Robin Swann says a return to restrictions cannot be ruled out – .

The health minister said the reintroduction of certain restrictions on coronaviruses could not be ruled out.
However, Robin Swann added that the executive would do “whatever we can” to avoid another lockdown.

Nightclubs reopened in Northern Ireland on Sunday and legal social distancing requirements were also removed.

This means that people can now move around the rooms and stand for drinks or food, and face coverings are not needed when patrons are dancing.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster, Mr Swann urged people to keep getting vaccinated.

“I hope we don’t find ourselves in a position where we have to go through with a new lockdown,” he said.

“Should we be looking at other restrictions? Possibly. But I will always follow the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Science Advisor as to where we are at. “

He added that a lockdown would be a “detrimental step that I wouldn’t recommend” but that “having to cut services again” is also something the Minister of Health does not want to happen.

“We have to realize that we are seeing levels of pressure that we have never seen before,” he said.

“That’s why we’re pushing the immunization program as much as possible to get people to come forward to get their first vaccine and their second vaccine and their booster program. “

Many hospitals in Northern Ireland are currently operating under overcapacity, with emergency services reporting high numbers of patients over the weekend.

Mr Swann said the shortage of frontline staff was the result of years of underinvestment in Northern Ireland’s healthcare services.

He said, “As we see this increasing pressure in all of our service areas and in all of our trust areas, we are working to alleviate it as best we can.

“But we have a limited staff to be able to do that, so it’s really about working in partnership with the general public. “

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