60 police officers being tested for Covid-19 after outbreak

Sixty police officers are being tested for Covid-19 after an outbreak at two stations in Northern Ireland

  • A total of eight have tested positive the Police Service of Northern Ireland said
  • The number testing and self-isolating has increased from 51 on Saturday
  • Antrim and Newtownabbey stations have been closed for deep cleaning. 

Sixty police officers are undergoing testing for Covid-19 after an outbreak at two stations in Northern Ireland.

A total of eight have been diagnosed with the infection, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said.

The number testing and self-isolating has increased from 51 on Saturday.

Antrim and Newtownabbey stations have been closed for deep cleaning.

The news comes ahead of further lockdown restrictions that will be imposed from Monday as Northern Ireland continues to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. 

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: ‘Yesterday we confirmed that eight of our officers had tested positive for Covid-19. This number has not increased.

Sixty police officers are undergoing testing for Covid-19 after an outbreak at two stations – including one in Antrim (pictured) – in Northern Ireland

The two stations in Northern Ireland are around 17 miles apart. The news comes ahead of further lockdown restrictions that will be imposed from Monday as Northern Ireland continues to tackle the coronavirus pandemic

‘However, the number of officers who are currently self-isolating and undergoing testing for Covid-19 has increased from 51 yesterday to 60 officers today.

‘In line with public health guidance, we are taking all appropriate steps to address and manage the issue.

‘While we hope to return frontline officers to their duties in the coming days, our officers’ health and welfare is of paramount importance and we will ensure they return to duty when it is safe to do so.’ 

Antrim’s Serious Crime Suite has been used in the past to interview those suspected of paramilitary involvement as well as other major crime.

Newtonabbey police station has also been closed while deep cleaning is undertaken

Health minister Robin Swann this week warned that the R-number in Northern Ireland is currently 1.3, meaning the virus is at risk of spreading. 

On Thursday he announced new restrictions aimed at curbing the infection rate, which will come into effect from Monday. 

The number of people meeting indoors is to be reduced to six from no more than two households, and the limit on numbers at outdoor gatherings will be slashed in half from 30 to 15.

Meanwhile, Mr Swann also announced there would be focused PSNI enforcement of coronavirus regulations in hotspot areas. 

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