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NI likely to face another Covid-19 surge in the autumn, CMO warns

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Northern Ireland is likely to face another Covid-19 surge in the autumn, the region’s chief medical officer has warned.

Dr Michael McBride said continuing public adherence to restrictions and infection control guidelines was crucial in efforts to prevent a further wave.

Dr McBride said the vaccination rollout would help lessen the dependence on restrictions going forward, but he made clear that Covid-19 would continue to pose a risk in the future.

“I think it is more likely than not that we will see another surge of this virus perhaps towards the autumn time,” he said.

“And I think that we all can take measures to make sure that that isn’t the case.”

Coronavirus – Mon Mar 15, 2021 / PA Wire

The CMO was speaking ahead of a key Stormont Executive meeting on Tuesday when ministers will formally review the current lockdown restrictions in Northern Ireland.

Ministers have made clear that the public should not expect a widespread lifting of measures but they have suggested easements could be announced around certain outdoors activities, including a return to some sports.

Dr McBride, who received his first Covid-19 vaccine on Monday, said it was important that limitations were still imposed on risky activities associated with outdoor sports, such as sharing changing rooms.

He said ministers would seek to make relaxations in areas that “matter most” to society.

“So getting children back to school, engaging in some activity that’s good for all our mental health and wellbeing – outdoor activity, meeting family and friends in a safe way,” he said.

“All of those things are crucially important but they all come with a price, they come with a risk.

“And it’s really important that we continue to follow the advice because you know, this virus is still out there and it is not going away.”

Coronavirus – Mon Mar 15, 2021 / PA Wire

Dr McBride was asked about surging infection rates reported in several European countries such as Italy, France Germany and Poland and whether Northern Ireland could be facing a similar new wave.

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