Other News In Brief

Belfast Bar Closes After Staff Contacted To Isolate

A bar in Belfast city centre has been forced to close its doors until next week after a number of staff were contacted to isolate.

The staff members of The Second Fiddle were contacted by the NHS covid app and asked to self-isolate because they have been in close contact with someone that has contracted covid.

Writing on their Facebook page, The Second Fiddle confirmed they now do not have enough staff to run the business and will remain closed until Monday 02 August.

In a statement, they wrote: "We apologise for the inconvenience this causes to our customers who had planned to visit the venue over the weekend. During these uncertain times, this just can't be helped. More importantly, though, we hope our staff and customers keep well and everyone please look after yourself. Your health is your wealth."

Now Is The Time To Get Covid Jab - Sinn Fein

As the mass vaccination centres begin to wind down across Northern Ireland, a Sinn Féin MLA has urged those not yet vaccinated to get their jab.

Speaking as more than one million people are now fully vaccinated across NI, Colm Gildernew said: "Over a number of weeks, these centres have been operating on a walk-in basis with no appointment needed to get your first and second jab.

"If you still haven't got your first dose, I would urge you to take a couple of minutes and visit a vaccine centre before this phase ends on Saturday

"Vaccination, alongside an effective test, trace, isolate and support system, offers the best way to protect our loved ones, keep down hospital admissions and support our frontline health workers."

DoH Must Redouble Efforts To Tackle Covid Certification Problems - DUP
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The Department of Health has come under pressure to find a lasting solution to solve the problems surrounding Northern Ireland's COVID Certification Service.

DUP MLA Pam Cameron is urging the Department to redouble its efforts to solve the issues as travellers face uncertainty.

"These certificates were intended to unlock the door to travel abroad for those who have abided by the public health advice and are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Instead, the scheme has been beset by delay and disruption, leaving travellers in a logjam of applications," the South Antrim MLA said.

"This situation needs to be urgently addressed. Although the online system is expected to resume shortly, only those travelling up to 01 August are being encouraged to apply and there is a real and pressing need for the Department of Health to invest the necessary resources and manpower to get the system operable for everyone and in a sustainable way.

"It remains unclear why the certification scheme was linked to registration on the Nidirect website when it was unlikely to be able to handle the level of demand. The Department needs to be upfront about the scale of the problem. It is unacceptable that applicants have said their calls and emails have gone unanswered for days. There are also clear concerns around the capacity of verification software to recognise passports. Where appropriate the Department should utilise expertise from across the UK and in other jurisdictions to address these faults in the system and ensure the local scheme is fit for purpose.

"We need to see a lasting, practical solution that gives certainty and confidence to travellers. It is wrong that those who have acted in good faith in receiving both doses of the vaccine now find themselves at a loss in seeking to honour holiday or business plans. This must be rectified without delay and in a way that meets the expectations of applicants."

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