Responding to the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, PBP MLA Gerry Carroll has stated that the Stormont Executive has “lost control” of the virus. Mr Carroll stated:
“The latest spike in COVID-19 cases is deeply concerning. With almost 1000 new cases across the North, the Executive has lost control of this virus by prioritising profits over public health.
“This virus was declining just months ago but spikes have coincided with the rush to flood workplaces, bars and restaurants. This was entirely predictable and indeed I warned many times, in the Assembly and on the Health Committee, that prioritising profits over our health would have disastrous consequences where this virus was concerned.
“I have asked the Executive multiple times for the scientific evidence which justified getting people back to work while this virus remained a threat. I have never received that evidence. I do not think it exists, frankly, and 1000 new cases are proof of that.
“Today’s figures strengthen the demand for the furlough scheme to be extended with added support for those who have gone without so far; forcing more people back into workplaces now will bolster the spread of the virus further.
“Workers who are already back at work should be enabled to walk off the job without recriminations, when they cannot work safely. If the Executive is unwilling to protect workers, they should take measures to put their health first. We are encouraging everyone to join a trade union a Trade Union at this time.
“And we are urging the Executive to take the urgent action necessary to stop the dangerous spread of this virus. Lives, quite literally, depend on it.”
People Before Profit TD and Dáil Health Committee member Gino Kenny has urged the Health minister to listen to the concerns of the 221 group