Alliance Health Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw has called on the Health Minister to sort out the failings in the Contact Tracing system urgently, so that Northern Ireland can also adopt £500 payments to those in need who are required to self-isolate.
The South Belfast MLA stated: “One of the array of frustrations we have with the current Contact Tracing arrangements is the admission that it provides no means to knowing who is complying with the requirement to self-isolate.
“The failure of people to self-isolate is driving transmission in many instances, because they are clearly at higher risk of spreading the virus. The very difficult situation in which we find ourselves, with so many businesses having to close, is directly related to the failure to ensure compliance with self-isolation requirements. However, it is hard to blame anyone for not self-isolating if their financial circumstances make it practically impossible.
“We must urgently adopt the same system as in England of ensuring that those asked to self-isolate do not face a severe financial penalty for doing so. The provision of a £500 means tested payment would provide fairness for those asked to self-isolate, but would also provide assurance to the rest of us that the spread of the virus will be restricted.
“This does require, however, a proper system of ensuring compliance. It defies belief that no such system has yet been put in place.
“I would urge the Minister to act urgently over the weekend to put such a system in place so that we can enforce self-isolation more appropriately, but also that anyone facing financial hardship by having to self-isolate is appropriately supported.”