Northern Ireland is preparing for a major lockdown and the deployment of paramedics from the Republic of Ireland to control Covid-19

Health officials on Thursday proposed a six-week lockdown and approved a plan to reinforce the ambulance service with units from across the border

Northern Ireland executive approved the move on Thursday evening, Deputy First Secretary Michelle O’Neill said the lockdown will begin on Boxing Day and will be reviewed after four weeks “The positive cases we see every day are going It clearly indicated that urgent intervention was needed, “she said

All non-essential retail and contact services such as beauty salons must be closed Take-away pubs, cafes and restaurants will not make any changes to Christmas rules, but anyone visiting a different household must be by 28 Leaving December O’Neill said schools were also being discussed and ministers agreed that they should “remain open for the time being,” but added that health and education departments will be discussing other measures such as blended learning

The developments came as the pandemic left the region with an additional 12 deaths and the death toll rose to 1154 increased Another 656 cases were recorded, a sharp increase from the previous few days. Hospitals are congested, sometimes forcing ambulances to queue for hours outside the emergency room while patients wait to be admitted

The authorities in Dublin have agreed to transfer paramedics from the Irish Ambulance Service to the Northern Irish Ambulance Service (NIAS)

The units are expected to start working across the border with their own vehicles starting Friday, operating in Belfast, Craigavon ​​and Lisburn

“This additional capacity is very welcome and NIAS is very grateful to our colleagues at NAS and their staff for agreeing to provide their support during a challenging time for the second time in the last 12 months,” said the Service in a statement

“Challenges” were cited in the service of Northern Ireland because some employees with or suspected of having Covid-19 had to self-isolate

Tom Black, chairman of the British Medical Association in Northern Ireland, warned this week that the region’s health care system was facing a “nightmare” Gabriel Scally, a public health expert and a member of the Independent Sage Committee, said the Northern Irish government has botched its handling of the pandemic and the health service is on the verge of being overwhelmed

After infection rates fell to the lowest level in Europe, well below Northern Ireland’s, the Republic of Ireland is now also seeing a sharp rise, with reproductive numbers ranging between 11 and 13 Health officials suggested on Thursday that a planned easing of restrictions over Christmas be contained

Northern Ireland lockdown

World News – UK – Northern Ireland competes for six weeks from Boxing Day