THE people of Fermanagh are being urged to be as safe as possible when enjoying tonight’s New Year’s Eve festivities, with the Omicron Covid variant currently running rampant in the local community.
Health Minister Robin Swann made an appeal this morning for everyone to follow health guidance and advice when celebrating this evening.
“Traditionally this is a time when we look forward with hope and optimism,” he said. “This year we will do the same but that must be tempered by continued caution and awareness that our actions will play a massive part in how we move forward in the weeks and months ahead.
“We have seen here and across the world that Omicron is presenting us with an increased level of challenge in terms of its level of transmissibility and the spiralling levels of infection within the community. This is a time when everyone can play a crucially important part in protecting ourselves, those we care for and our essential health services which are under unrelenting pressure.”
The Minister added “each of us can make a difference by making the right choices,” including limiting contacts, prioritising the people who mean most to us, and taking all precautions possible before meeting up.
“Get vaccinated, be that a first, second or booster dose; take a lateral flow test, wear a face mask, be aware of good hand hygiene and observe guidance and regulations regarding social distancing,” he said.
“I know we are all tired and weary after two long years of making great sacrifices and being denied the sort of lives and freedoms which we all took for granted. I also know that working together will bring the time closer when we can emerge together from this pandemic.”
While the county is not currently under lockdown, the advice since December 27 has been for everyone to limit their social contacts, with a recommendation for no more than three households to meet together in a private home. Rooms should be kept well ventilated, and everyone should keep to social distancing and sound hand hygine.
While demand is high, the Department of Health has insisted there are enough lateral flow tests available.
“There is a sufficient supply of lateral flow tests for Northern Ireland,” said a Department spokesman. “Community pharmacies are replenished regularly and additional deliveries are being made into Northern Ireland on a regular basis.
“You can also use the site finder to find an alternative local collection site. If the site closest to you does not have any tests, you will find other collect sites in your local area on site finder.
“Due to high demand, tests may be released in batches throughout the day on the online home delivery service. If you are not able to order tests immediately, please check again regularly throughout the day.”
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