Health workers are on the front line in tackling the Covid-19 crisis and undoubtedly displaying huge dedication and self-sacrifice in doing so. However they are fighting this battle in the context of a health system which was already in chronic crisis, due to decades of underfunding from both Stormont and Westminster, leaving services overstretched and understaffed. This was a key issue health workers raised during their momentous strikes and industrial action late last year.
In the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, the announcement by employers in the hospitality sector of thousands of lay-offs has thrown the futures of these workers into uncertainty.
Yet, Johnson and his government are continuing to adopt a laissez-faire attitude. They have not ordered schools to shut; they have not ordered all non-essential businesses to close and implement home-working where possible. These measures are needed if people are truly to be able to avoid all non-essential contact with others.
The spread of the novel coronavirus Covid-19 has become a major health crisis, unlike anything seen in a century. At the time of writing, around 156 countries have been impacted, with more than 170,000 infected and more than 6,500 confirmed deaths, including 36 in Britain and 2 in Ireland, with those figures likely to rise dramatically.