What is group screening for COVID-19?

Summary 

Group screening takes samples from multiple people, mixes them together, and tests them as one. People within a group that test positive are individually retested, or an algorithm is used to identify positive individuals.

Pros: Fewer tests to process; more people tested; lower cost; detection of asymptomatic cases.

Cons: It is not efficient when the infection rate is high. Continue reading What is group screening for COVID-19?

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

This explainer article details the Northern Ireland Executive’s COVID-19 recovery plan. Last changed on Thursday 15 October 2020, this article is no longer being updated. Please refer to the NI Direct website for information about the latest restrictions.

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

What is the Northern Ireland circuit breaker?

On 14 October 2020, The Executive Office published an update to the list of regulatory (enforceable) measures as well as additional health guidance.

For a period of four weeks, starting at 6pm on Friday 16 October, the following will be in effect:

    • Support bubbles are limited to 10 people from two households
    • No overnight stays in a private home unless in a bubble
    • Hospitality sector to close (except for takeaway/delivery)
    • Fast food to close nightly at 11pm
    • No sale of alcohol (in off-licences and supermarkets) after 8pm
    • Retail remains open with emphasis on mitigations
    • No mass events involving more than 15 people
    • No close-contact services, including hairdressers and beauticians (health needs excluded)
    • No indoor sport; no organised outdoor sport involving mixing of households (exception for elite athletes)
    • Gyms open for individual training only
    • Churches remain open (face masks mandatory on entering/leaving)
    • Funerals limited to 25 people with no gatherings before or afterwards
    • Weddings limited to 25 people (from Monday 19 October)
    • Advised not to travel unnecessarily
    • Advised to work from home
    • Universities and further education advised to deliver distance learning as much as possible

In addition, the school half term holiday will be extended, beginning on Monday 19 October and reopening on Monday 2 November.

Continue reading What is Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 recovery plan?

Are 95% or 98% of all households in the Holylands area of Belfast HMOs?

CLAIM: About 95% or 98% of all households in the Holylands area of Belfast are HMOs. 

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. FactCheckNI has estimated that 45% of properties in the Holylands are licensed as HMOs, and Belfast City Council report a figure of 40% for the larger Botanic, Holylands and Rugby policy area. Continue reading Are 95% or 98% of all households in the Holylands area of Belfast HMOs?

Is there 90% compliance with wearing face coverings in retail settings in Northern Ireland?

CLAIM: At a Northern Ireland Policing Board meeting, the PSNI’s Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said that there was 90% compliance with people wearing face coverings in retail settings.

CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. Constable Alan Todd has clarified that this figure was an estimate.

Continue reading Is there 90% compliance with wearing face coverings in retail settings in Northern Ireland?

What’s the accuracy of claims regarding COVID-19 featured in a leaflet distributed in parts of Lagan Valley constituency?

CLAIMS: 

    1. Covid-19 was downgraded from high-consequence infectious disease (HCID) status by the UK government on 19th March, 2020.
    2. Death rates are no higher this year than in a bad flu season.
    3. Covid-19 is being put on death certificates fraudulently, without a test having been carried out and when the patient died of something else.

CONCLUSION: A mixture of ACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION, UNSUBSTANTIATED, and INACCURATE claims that use non-specific phrases, missing context, and words that provoke an emotional reaction to the claims rather than a rational, evidence-based one. Continue reading What’s the accuracy of claims regarding COVID-19 featured in a leaflet distributed in parts of Lagan Valley constituency?

Does the tech sector employ 26% of the workforce in Belfast?

CLAIM: In Belfast, the digital sector employs 26 per cent of the workforce.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The newspaper article misinterprets the Tech Nation “Jobs and Skills Report 2020”, which states that for Belfast, from June to August 2020, 26% of job adverts at the online search site Adzuna were in the category of IT and engineering jobs. Using the most recent figures available from NISRA, we estimate that 8% of the workforce in Belfast is employed in jobs that fall into this category.

UPDATE: The Times corrected its article, in response to our request. Its updated article states that in Belfast, the tech sector makes up 26 per cent of vacancies, not overall employment.

Continue reading Does the tech sector employ 26% of the workforce in Belfast?