Northern Ireland; Covid-19: Military to assist NI medical staff

Members of the military are to be brought in to help medical staff in Northern Ireland in the fight against Covid-19.

Health Minister Robin Swann has asked the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to help out, primarily at a number of hospitals across NI.

More than 100 medically-trained military personnel will be deployed.

Those brought in will assist nursing staff and help on the wards in a move designed to ease the pressure on staff.

In the past, the use of the military in Northern Ireland has provoked controversy.

While military help has already been used during the pandemic to transport equipment and patients, this is the first time military staff will be used in hospitals.

It is thought the first military staff will be made available as early as next week.

Mr Swann said it would have been an abdication of responsibility if he did not avail of help from the military.

He said while coronavirus cases were lower than two weeks ago, the challenge posed remained “intense” and intensive care pressures were expected to increase further in the next eight to 10 days.