Alderman calls for temporary ‘work only’ border crossing in NW due to COVID rates

Ulster Unionist Alderman Darren Guy has called for temporary border restrictions to be introduced locally as he met with Health Minister Robin Swann in Derry today.

Minister Swann was in the city to meet local woman Tamzin White as she continues to spearhead the remarkable campaign to bring a Detox Centre to the city.

Alderman Guy said: “It was good to see the Health Minister continue to be a man of his word in holding a meeting with Tamzin White to discuss the possibilities of a Detox Centre for our city.”

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Ald. Guy said that he had raised the COVID situation in Donegal and the wider north west with the Minister, following concerns raised by health figures in the south over the higher prevalence of COVID in some parts of the border county than the rest of the south. Derry & Strabane has also frequently seen higher COVID incidence rates than the rest of NI.

Health Minister Robin Swann with UUP Alderman Darren Guy.

Ald. Guy said: “I spoke with the Health Minister in regards to the worrying number of positive COVID cases emanating from across the border in Co.Donegal where over 80 people tested positive in one cluster after attending the same wake.

“With the Republic of Ireland’s vaccination programme experiencing supply problems in its infancy, the inadequacies of the EU in providing its member states with sufficient doses of vaccines to help control the spread of COVID is clear for all to see. The Irish Government need to increase their vaccination rollout in border areas.”

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“The authorities, both in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland need to implement tighter cross-border travel restrictions to prevent further spread of COVID into our Council area. I believe that a ‘work only’ basis for cross border travel needs to be introduced over the next 3 to 4 weeks to help reduce the numbers testing positive for COVID.”

Ald Guy added; “People from our Council area have worked hard throughout this pandemic in attempting to reduce positive COVID cases, especially since October 2020, when we witnessed a spike in the numbers of those testing positive within the Council area.

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“It would be a shame and an insult to our Council area if numbers spiked again due to outside influences.

“I would ask people when out and about not to become complacent, wear a mask, continue to wash your hands and respect everyone’s personal space.”