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.”

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What is Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 recovery strategy?

This article explains the Northern Ireland Executive’s COVID-19 recovery strategy.

[It 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 which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.]

Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

On 12 May 2020, the Northern Ireland Executive launched their COVID-19 recovery strategy, Coronavirus: Our Approach to Decision Making.

The document outlines a roadmap for relaxing COVID-19 related restrictions in Northern Ireland.

At the end of April, FactCheckNI published an explainer article about the existing ‘lockdown’ rules for Northern Ireland.

What are the new guidelines?

Many of the previous regulations remain in place. However, the new document outlines five steps in each sector for easing restrictions. Most, but not all of step 1 relaxations, across all sectors, have been announced on a case by case basis since the plan was published. The main phases in each sector are: Continue reading What is Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 recovery strategy?

What are the rules of lockdown in Northern Ireland?

This article explains what the rules of “lockdown” during COVID-19 are in Northern Ireland.

[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 which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.]

Summary

Northern Ireland is currently under ‘lockdown’ since 23 March with citizens practicing social distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19. All citizens must stay at home unless they have a reasonable excuse or necessity for leaving.

    • Legislation was enacted on 28 March which governs enforcement by the PSNI.
    • Legislation was amended on Friday 24 April to include the opening of cemeteries and to allow for short distances travelled to safe places or facilities for exercise.
    • As of 25 April 2020, since lockdown began the PSNI has issued 570 cautions and 358 penalty fines (00:45).
    • The Irish Government have introduced ‘stay at home’ measures until 5 May with travel for exercise restricted to a 2km radius from the residence.

Continue reading What are the rules of lockdown in Northern Ireland?

Are COVID-19 deaths in Northern Ireland 50% higher than Ireland?

A widely shared tweet by Gabriel Scally on Wednesday 22 April draws attention to an Irish Times article about the difference in relative COVID-19 death rates across the island of Ireland, and claims that “the death rate for #COVID19 deaths in hospital (and for all COVID deaths) is 50% higher in Northern Ireland”.

Continue reading Are COVID-19 deaths in Northern Ireland 50% higher than Ireland?

The health system in Northern Ireland: How is it structured and who makes decisions about COVID-19?

The health system in Northern Ireland: How is it structured and who makes decisions about COVID-19?

This article explains how the health system in Northern Ireland is structured, and who is responsible for COVID-19 planning and decision making.

[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 which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.]

Summary

There is a huge amount of collaboration between health bodies around COVID-19 in Northern Ireland. But the division of responsibilities can be understood as follows:

    • Health policy is devolved to Northern Ireland, but there is a focus on coordination with the wider UK and the Republic of Ireland.
    • The Northern Ireland Executive is responsible for coordinating the overall response.
    • The Department of Health sets COVID-19 policy, regulations and health strategy.
    • The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) commissions services.
    • The Public Health Authority (PHA) collects information, issues advice and communicates key messages.
    • Health Trusts manage the day to day running of hospitals, health centres, residential homes and other health and social care facilities. The Northern Ambulance Service is also a Trust.

 

Continue reading The health system in Northern Ireland: How is it structured and who makes decisions about COVID-19?

New working partnership: COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project

Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI are delighted to be working in partnership on the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.

The objectives of the project are:

    1. To disseminate official COVID-19 information
    2. To fact check unofficial information about COVID-19
    3. To counteract misinformation and identify gaps in information for people in communities about COVID-19
    4. To disseminate health literacy friendly COVID-19 information to CDHN and FactCheckNI networks
    5. To prioritise the dissemination of information about the role of pharmacies

CDHN has over 2,500 members and supports tens of thousands of people across Northern Ireland. They are NI’s leading organisation working to empower communities, improve health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities. CDHN has particular expertise in health literacy, having developed and delivered training and provided support on health literacy to communities, pharmacists and other health and social care professionals.

FactCheckNI is Northern Ireland’s first and only dedicated independent fact checking service.  The organisation is verified by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) and works under the fundamental principles of impartiality, transparency and accuracy. FactCheckNI is also part of Facebook’s third party fact-checking programme; this is part of Facebook’s efforts to minimise the spread of misinformation on its platform.  Find out more here


Please contact Orna by email or FactCheckNI online if:

  • You would like to receive official and fact-checked information
  • You have seen information about COVID-19 that you think should be fact checked
  • There is something you would like to know about COVID-19 and you can’t find it
  • There is information about COVID-19 that you would like to see/receive in a more health literate format

Website: www.factcheckni.org • Twitter: @FactCheckNI • Facebook: @factcheckni • Instagram: factcheckni_