Commenting on rising covid cases and hospital pressures, Chair of BMA's Northern Ireland Council Tom Black said: "The ongoing rise in case numbers, people in hospital and ICU is extremely concerning. I have spoken to many secondary care colleagues over the past few days who are very worried as to how hospitals are going to cope over the next few days and weeks, and the decisions they may have to take over how people are cared for. We have seen the coverage of ambulances stacking at hospitals and we can see the numbers on the Covid dashboard going in the wrong way.
"As individuals everyone in Northern Ireland needs to look at their own actions, we simply cannot have a normal festive season this year and a hospital sector that functions normally, that is just not possible at the minute. The guidelines that we have seen are really just recommendations, just because you can have other people over at Christmas it does not mean you have to do that, if at all possible have a smaller celebration this year. Every single family must look at what they are planning and minimise their contacts if at all possible.
"The Executive must continue to look closely at the scientific advice they are being given as to the likely pattern of infections and decide if and when more action would need to be taken in order to mitigate the very real risk that our hospitals will not be able to cope."