Ireland Hospitals should prepare to take patients from North, Sinn...

Hospitals should prepare to take patients from North, Sinn Féin says

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Sinn Féin has said hospitals in the Republic should be drawing up plans to receive patients from Northern Ireland if the current Covid-19 outbreak continues to grow there.

The party has said the Republic’s hospitals need to be ready to take patients from the region if hospitals in the North come under too much pressure.

Northern Ireland has seen a major surge of cases in recent weeks, recording a further 902 cases of the disease yesterday and over a thousand the day before, as the region experiences more cases than the Republic despite its smaller population.

Sinn Féin’s health spokesman David Cullinane said that only an all-Ireland effort will work: “Well I think we’re already seeing patients being transferred from different hospitals within regions.

“If it is the case that we have to share hospital capacity across the Border, of course that should be examined. I think every option has to be on the table and I’ve seen saying that for some time.

“There is no response or no action that cannot be on the table in fighting this virus, so it has to be action on all fronts.”

All-island

The party has called for officials on either side of the Border to pool testing and tracing resources, in order to fight the outbreak on an all-island basis.

Yesterday was the first day in a week the North had seen fewer new cases than the Republic, as the south saw 1,012 new cases – the highest daily number of cases yet recorded in the Republic that did not include any backlog.

Mr Cullinane said more cross-Border co-operation was needed: “The health ministers north and south need to talk, but we actually need action.

“We need to see much stronger collaboration on testing and tracing, we need to see much more alignment on the response and restrictions.

“The island has to come together as one, we have to show solidarity. If it is not an all island response, we’re not going to be able to wrestle back control of this virus and stay ahead of it in the time ahead.”

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