Bradshaw: UK Government's position contrary to scientific guidance on restrictions leaves us thankful for devolution

Alliance Health Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw has said she is “sick and tired” of public representatives undermining health restrictions, adding she is thankful that devolution means the NI Executive is free to follow the scientific advice even as the UK Government ignores it.

The South Belfast MLA stated: “There is a degree of encouragement in figures showing that dramatically rising cases in Great Britain have not led to anything like the amount of sickness that similar incidence rates saw before the vaccination programme began. However, the reality remains that cases are rising swiftly, sickness will also begin to rise as they do, and the vaccination programme remains incomplete.

“We have therefore heard clearly from the Chief Medical Officer and others that we are looking at rising hospitalisation over the summer and that is indicative of much higher risk of not just directly of serious disease but also of ‘Long Covid’, whose long-term effects are still poorly understood.

“The reason we are in a position to have raised restrictions as we have is the vaccination programme. There is clear evidence that the Delta Variant, which is now the vast majority of cases, requires both doses to reduce the risk more than previous variants of the virus. This means all our efforts should be on ensuring as many adults as possible get both doses of the vaccine precisely so that we can then open up fully with very low risk.

“We have to be able to distinguish between those operating on the basis of political ideology and those who are advising us on the basis of expertise. People are understandably tired of restrictions but what is rather more tiring is the ongoing attempt by some with responsibility to downplay what the scientific guidance is telling us. Let us be clear that the next few weeks will define how we can move forward going into the autumn when schools re-open and when we really can hope to be in a much better position.”