Halloween could be a ‘super-propagator’ event, says Northern Irish politician


Halloween night could turn out to be a “super-broadcast event” for young people in Northern Ireland who have not received a Covid vaccine, an MP has warned.

Kellie Armstrong, of the Alliance Party, said she believes the easing of restrictions on coronaviruses has gone too far and too fast, and that more effort should be made to encourage young people to be given a jab.

Nightclubs are set to reopen in Northern Ireland on October 31, and social distancing rules that currently limit capacity in bars and restaurants will shift from regulation to guidance.

People will also be able to move freely in the reception areas from this date, including being able to stand at the bar for a drink.

Some of the relaxations agreed by the executive have been criticized as pressures on hospitals remain high, Dr Tom Black, chairman of the British Medical Association’s Northern Ireland board, calling them “madness”.

Alliance Party and SDLP ministers also said relaxations should only take place if accompanied by mandatory vaccine passports.

Particular critics have followed the decision that masks will not be mandatory for dancing at nightclubs when they reopen.

During an appearance on the BBC’s Inside Politics, Ms Armstrong was asked if she thought the easing of restrictions had gone “too far, too fast”.

She said, “Yes, I believe it. I think we should encourage young people to get vaccinated.

“You saw it last summer when the concerts resumed, when Belsonic showed up, this company said you could only enter the venue if you had proof of vaccination.

“I think that’s the kind of thing we should be encouraging, especially in nightclubs.”

She added: “We have the potential on Halloween night for a super-spreading event for young people who have not yet been vaccinated to spread the Covid virus to their grandparents, parents, other members of the community. the family who protect themselves at home.

“And that will only put more strain on our health care system. If we are to invest in health then we have to help health by doing proactive things ourselves to stop this spread. “

Health Minister Robin Swann said he believed there had been some confusion over what had been agreed by the executive on face coverings.

Speaking on Saturday, he stressed that face coverings are still mandatory on public transport, in retail outlets and in crowded public spaces. He added that the masks could only be removed in nightclubs for eating, drinking or dancing.

“These easing restrictions also came with demands,” he said.

“There is an option for any site to support the use of the Covid vaccine certification or people who have received a lateral flow test.

“I encourage sites that are opening up to turn to these directions.

“But also the people who go to nightclubs to be responsible too. One of the things I would tell them is to be responsible. – PA

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