Northern Ireland news

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson says coronavirus cannot be underestimated

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has tested positive for Covid-19. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire
David Young, PA

The threat posed by Covid-19 is real and cannot be underestimated, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has warned.

The DUP leader is currently isolating after contracting the virus.

In his Christmas message to party supporters, Sir Jeffrey said his symptoms remained mild, something he attributed to having been vaccinated.

The Lagan Valley MP told colleagues his key priorities in the time ahead were to work with Government to get a “better deal” from Brussels in negotiations on Brexit’s Northern Ireland Protocol and also to secure more support from Treasury to help those affected by Covid-19.

“For nearly two years now we have been living with the impact of Covid and the consequences that restrictions have had,” he wrote.

“Like countless others across Northern Ireland, I understand the difficulties that restrictions have caused.

“I buried my dad in lockdown.

“We have a large family and had to abide by the limited numbers.

“It was difficult.

“I know the pain of watching those who believe they are above the rules.

“But I also know the threat from Covid continues to be real and should not be underestimated.

“My symptoms are fairly mild so far and I credit that to the vaccine.

“There are tools in the fight against the virus and key to these is the booster vaccine programme.

“I got my booster a couple of weeks ago and that extra protection is very welcome.

“I urge everyone to get their vaccine and their booster jab.

“That helps protect us against serious illness, but vitally offers the best safeguard for our health service.

“Many of those Health Service staff and other blue light services will be working throughout the Christmas period.

“They make individual sacrifices but work as a team to serve and protect us all as a community.

“Their efforts are one of the many reasons that we can look ahead to the future with hope.”

He added: “Northern Ireland is full of good people. We debate politics but at our core we are a kind people.

“Whether British, Irish or Northern Irish, we would never turn anyone away from the door who was in need of help.

“They would always get a cup of tea.

“We pull together to help when the need arises.

“Our generosity is known across the world.

“I know the challenges and difficulties that we face today but for my part I will try my best to work with the Government in London to ensure we get a better deal from Brussels and the support we need to help families though this pandemic.”

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