06/09/2021

Other News In Brief

Call For Assembly To Provide Clear Covid 19 Guidance For Schools

Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan has called for the Assembly to be recalled over the lack of clear Covid 19 guidance for schools amid a growing number of pupil absences due to positive cases.

The West Belfast MLA and party Education spokesperson said: "Principals and school staff have been highlighting the lack of clear guidance for schools amid rising positive Covid 19 cases in our classrooms.

"The Education Minister needs to give clear guidance and put in place the necessary resources to support our school staff in keeping schools open.

"I have initiated a recall petition to ensure that the Education Minister comes to the Assembly and sets out exactly what the Department of Education will do to support schools.

"Schools have been clear on the need for department staff to help with contact tracing and better access to the Covid 19 helplines."

Appeal Issued Following Sectarian Attack In Belfast

Police are appealing for information after a suspected sectarian attack in Belfast last month.

A man was attacked last month by three men while walking his dog in the Throne Wood area connecting the Whitewell Road to the Antrim Road.

The attack, which took place at around 10pm on August 25, was reported to police on August 31.

The man was left with two suspected broken eye sockets and a broken nose, as well as being subjected to sectarian abuse.
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Police are treating the incident as a sectarian hate crime.

NI Should Prepare To Offer Vaccines For 12+ - Alliance

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said Northern Ireland should continue to prepare to offer vaccinations to all children aged 12 and over, after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said that the risk from COVID to children aged 12 to 15 is marginally higher than that of taking the vaccine.

The South Belfast MLA said it was important to recognise there remains growing uncertainty in the evidence in assessing the known and unknown risks associated with different vaccines on one hand, and with ‘long COVID’ on the other.

"There is also considerable lack of clarity as to what impact vaccines have on long COVID itself, as opposed to on more immediate illness where the benefits are well established," she said.

"What is a little less clear, but will become apparent one way or the other in Northern Ireland over the next few weeks, is what benefit vaccinating schoolchildren would have to the spread of the virus among the wider population. The JCVI is stating the benefits would be minimal, and in fact vaccination is playing a lower role in stopping transmission of the virus itself than initially thought or than was evidently the case before the delta variant emerged. However, this seems to run contrary to the evidence we are seeing in Scotland, and we will soon have evidence of the impact of the return of schools here in Northern Ireland."

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