Stormont leaders urge people to stay apart on Mother’s Day

Stormont’s First and Deputy First Ministers have urged people to stay apart on Mother’s Day.

They praised those working on the front line of the battle against Covid-19.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said it is normally a day when children of all ages say thank you to their mothers, but this year would be “very different”.

She expressed gratitude to all those engaged today, and every day, in the service of others.

Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill said: “Everyone loves their mummy. I know that I do.

“And on Mother’s Day, we normally make a big effort to spoil them and to spend time with them.

“This year we have to do it differently.

“This year we are asking you not to put your mummy or anyone else’s mummy at risk.

“Please maintain the social distancing the Public Health Agency have asked you to do.

“Please follow that public health advice help protect yourself and help protect others.”

The National Trust has closed its parks and gardens to help restrict the spread of infection.

Ulster Rugby has offered its Kingspan Stadium in Belfast for drive-through testing or other community services, chief executive Jonny Petrie said.

Ulster GAA and the Irish Football Association have offered the same for venues across Northern Ireland.

End-of-school parties and anti-social behaviour by young people are being reported, despite what doctors believe is the impending catastrophe of coronavirus.

The country recorded its biggest daily increase in cases on Saturday, and a senior Belfast doctor warned that huge numbers of patients will die during the pandemic.

Students no longer in school after they were ordered to close risk passing the virus to more vulnerable groups like the elderly, so police urged party participants to consider the well-being of others and follow official guidance.

Nurses need ramped-up testing for Covid-19 so they can return to patients’ bedsides, a union leader said.

Those with symptoms are having to self-isolate for days.

The Royal College of Nursing also urged greater availability of personal protective kit.