Two police stations closed after eight PSNI officers test positive for Covid-19

Sixty officers are being tested and are self-isolating

Police officers from Antrim and Newtownabbey have tested positive for Covid-19. Photograph: Paul McErlane/EPA

Police officers from Antrim and Newtownabbey have tested positive for Covid-19. Photograph: Paul McErlane/EPA

 

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.

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.

“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.

On Saturday, Mr Todd said the force has plans in place to ensure continuance of service delivery to keep people and communities safe.

“We are also working to identify any other risks arising from this outbreak and will address those with our health care partners,” he said.

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland represents rank and file officers.

Chairman Mark Lindsay said: “It is essential that for the welfare of officers and the public, any signs of this disease must be tackled at the earliest opportunity.

“A welfare hub is in operation to support our colleagues at this time.

“Everything possible will be done to support the officers who are affected.

“This outbreak in Antrim and Newtownabbey stations once again shows the extent to which officers put themselves at risk protecting society as a whole.

“Strenuous tracking and tracing are being conducted. In the meantime, our thoughts are with the officers who have the disease and I would like to wish them a speedy recovery.”– PA

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