Covid-19: eight deaths and 442 cases in North as SDLP leader says ‘huge mistakes’ made

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Colm Eastwood said the Government of the Irish Republic 'did things properly'. Photo: Getty Images.
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By Vivienne Clarke. Additional reporting by PA.

A further eight people with Covid-19 have died in Northern Ireland, the region’s Department of Health confirmed.

The death toll recorded by the department now stands at 962, as another 442 confirmed cases of the virus were recorded in the last 24-hour reporting period.

A total of 51,118 people have now tested positive for Covid-19 in the North since the pandemic first began.

Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), Colm Eastwood, has said that “huge mistakes” were made by the Stormont Executive with regard to Covid-19 restrictions.

The Dublin Government did things properly

Mr Eastwood said the Government of the Republic “did things properly” and a full lockdown should have been imposed in the North weeks ago.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s News at One, he said that “one approach” for the island of Ireland would have been much better.

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“The Dublin Government did things properly. We should have gone into full lockdown, but only the pubs closed. Retail remained open and people were walking about,” Mr Eastwood said.

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The virus did not recognise that there were two jurisdictions, he added. “We have to operate as one island. There is a responsibility to get the virus numbers under control.”

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If the people of the North were sensible “then we could have some sort of Christmas,” he said.

Mr Eastwood pointed out that 30,000 people cross the border every day to go to work, school and shop. “It’s not at all an international border.”

Now that the North was facing into “proper lockdown” it was an opportunity to get figures down: “We have a responsibility to sort this out.”

Mr Eastwood hoped that the lockdown would make a difference. “It is in our hands now. We have to really try together to get out the other end.”

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