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Owen Mor Covid-19 crisis forewarned, says Derry councillor

It comes after the local care centre confirmed that six residents have contracted COVID-19

Shaun Harkin

Shaun Harkin who is to contest the General Election in Foyle for People Before Profit.

A Derry councillor has criticised government inaction in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and said that everything must be done to protect residents and workers in local care homes.

The comments made by People Before Profit Councillor Shaun Harkin come after news that six patients at Owen Mor Care Home in Derry have contracted COVID-19.

He said: "It's been announced that six residents in the Owen Mor Care Home tested positive for Covid-19. Our first thoughts and solidarity are with those residents and their families - and with all the residents and families who are understandably terrified.

"Our thoughts and solidarity also extends to all the frontline workers and their families at the care home. Everyone of us will share their deep concern and distress. Everything possible must be done to fight for residents to get through this and to make sure all action is taken to ensure spread of the virus is contained.

"This is the responsibility of the Stormont Executive, the Western Health and Social Care Trust and the employer. This is an emergency and solemn lip service is no longer going to cut it. Where necessary private care homes should be taken over by the health trust. This is the exact scenario frontline workers, trade unions, People Before Profit and many others have warned about."

He continued: "Far too many frontline workers in care homes and the community have been left without protective equipment with some of the most vulnerable people in society. We need widespread and regular testing for the virus - of frontline workers and everyone worried they have symptoms. Westminster and the Stormont Executive have failed to take the dramatic action needed to keep people safe.

"We have known about the threat of this virus for months yet frontline workers still don't have PPE. Barriers to trade union representation for workers in all workplaces must be removed immediately to ensure they have a voice. The political establishment has been far more concerned with the impact of this emergency on economic growth and the profits of big employers than protecting frontline workers and the vulnerable.

"Shrugging shoulders and telling us it's inevitable many people will die is unacceptable. We need to continue to raise our voices to make sure public health guidelines are fully implemented. We need to take all necessary action to put health and people first. There can be no more delays."

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