Did face coverings/masks become “mandatory” in shops and indoor public spaces in Northern Ireland on 1 August 2020?

CLAIM: Face coverings/masks became “mandatory” in shops in Northern Ireland as of 1 August 2020.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The wearing of face coverings/masks is currently being “encouraged” in a number of indoor settings. The NI Executive is due to review this approach on 20 August 2020 and may then implement the power to make it mandatory.
Continue reading Did face coverings/masks become “mandatory” in shops and indoor public spaces in Northern Ireland on 1 August 2020?

Has the suicide rate increased 200% during the COVID-19 lockdown period?

[This article is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information that will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.]

CLAIM: Suicides have increased 200% in the COVID-19 lockdown period.

CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. There are no official statistics or evidence to support the claim that the rates of suicide increased 200% during the period of lockdown (i.e. from 23 March to present). Continue reading Has the suicide rate increased 200% during the COVID-19 lockdown period?

Are 1 in 4 NI adults ‘now at risk of hunger and malnutrition’?

CLAIM: “One in four NI adults ‘now at risk of hunger and malnutrition’”

CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. The research behind the News Letter headline was conducted across the UK and the results were not broken down by region, so this UK finding cannot be applied to Northern Ireland without further area-specific evidence.

Continue reading Are 1 in 4 NI adults ‘now at risk of hunger and malnutrition’?

Did 62 more people contract COVID-19 in care homes, before dying in hospital?

CLAIM: Of the 353 COVID-19 deaths in hospitals in Northern Ireland, 62 people contracted the virus in a care home and were transferred to a hospital before dying.

CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. The death certificates of 62 people who died in hospital mention COVID-19 and give a normal residence address of a care home. However, there is no data to indicate where or when they contracted COVID-19.
Continue reading Did 62 more people contract COVID-19 in care homes, before dying in hospital?

Was Northern Ireland COVID-19 testing at a rate 10 times Scotland’s?

UPDATE: On 19 May 2020, the following claim was revised by Guido Fawkes. We have published an addendum to our article.

CLAIM: Northern Ireland was testing for COVID-19 at a rate 10 times that of Scotland, reported on 9 May 2020.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. Northern Ireland’s test rate for the day of 8 May 2020 was about three-quarters (80%) that of Scotland.

On 11 May 2020, the blog website Guido Fawkes published an article, “How the four nations compare on Covid”, in which it claimed: “Using data from the regional public health authorities published on May 9, it would seem that Northern Ireland is way ahead of the other regions, it was testing at 10 times the rate of Scotland, which is testing at the lowest rate.”

Continue reading Was Northern Ireland COVID-19 testing at a rate 10 times Scotland’s?

Is this an image of a Nazi flag flying in an area of Belfast celebrating VE Day?

CLAIM: Images are being shared on Facebook claiming that Nazi flags were being flown in areas of Belfast in which loyalists were celebrating VE Day.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The images are from Carrickfergus in July 2015. Continue reading Is this an image of a Nazi flag flying in an area of Belfast celebrating VE Day?