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Healthcare workers 'frightened' about what lies ahead as Covid-19 hospital admissions set to rise

Northern Ireland Executive to meet today to discuss ongoing crisis

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The Northern Ireland Executive will meet today to discuss the mounting pressures on hospitals.

It follows what has been called the worst 48 hours since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Northern Ireland's six health trusts have warned that by the third week of January, hospitals could be dealing with double the number of Covid patients.

On Monday, First Minister Arlene Foster said there were few options left to curb the current crisis, apart from a possible new curfew.

Mrs Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said while Northern Ireland was past the peak of new cases, the lag between people becoming infected and needing hospital treatment meant inpatient numbers were yet to hit their peak.

Pat Cullen, the director of the Royal College of Nursing in Northern Ireland, says healthcare workers in the North are frightened about what will come in the next few weeks.

Hospitals there are preparing for a third surge in facilities of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Monday, a further 16 Covid-related deaths were announced by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland. A total of 759 new cases of the virus were also reported.

A total of 91,954 people in Northern Ireland had received at least one coronavirus jab by Monday evening.

New lockdown restrictions came into force in Northern Ireland on Friday, forbidding people from leaving home for non-essential reasons.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said it was estimated that on average about 'one in 60' people currently have Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

He said the rising number of cases is a 'payback' for the relaxation of restrictions in December.

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