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Whole of society effort needed to tackle Covid-19: Foster and O’Neill

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First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill have said our whole society must be part of the effort to tackle the impact of Covid-19.

The Ministers were speaking after they led this morning’s meeting of the Civil Contingencies Group (NI), which brought together representatives from across public services, including Executive departments; health and social care; local government; and blue light responders.

The organisations involved are all working together on the Covid-19 response.

First Minister Arlene Foster said: “At today’s meeting of the Civil Contingencies Group we discussed the developing situation and heard from key responders across the public sector regarding the escalation of measures to tackle Covid-19.

“This is a rapidly evolving crisis and we are working collectively to ensure we are as prepared as we can be for what is coming down the tracks. The Executive will do everything possible to bring forward measures to support and protect people. But we can’t do it alone; our plans and preparations will only be effective if everybody follows the public health advice and is mindful of the needs and safety of others.”

The deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “Covid-19 is not just a public health issue; it’s a societal and economic crisis without precedent in our time. The effects of this disease will be felt right across our society so it’s important that we work in partnership to protect the vulnerable and do everything possible to support our front line services; our workers; and our businesses.

“This is only the beginning and there will be many difficult days and weeks ahead. These are exceptional circumstances that require a monumental response from government and our communities.”

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