COVID-19: Northern Ireland’s coronavirus case rate is far higher than the rest of the UK and its vaccination rate is lower

People in Northern Ireland are being urged to work from home where possible as part of reinforced COVID measures agreed by leaders at Stormont.

Current advice for businesses to prepare for a return to office working is to be changed to encourage employers to support those staff who can work from home to do so.

Northern Ireland’s COVID case rate is far higher than in the rest of the UK – and on a par with Germany’s, where the authorities are also sounding the alarm.

The UK government’s dashboard shows that cases took off in Northern Ireland in the first week of November, rising from around 420 for every 100,000 people to just under 600 – a rise of more than 40% in a fortnight.

By comparison, the case rate in Wales is currently around 500 per 100,000; in England and Scotland, it is lower still at roughly 400.

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A significant factor is the lower vaccination rate in Northern Ireland.

Only 79% of people over 12 have had two doses and just 19% have had a booster.

In the rest of the UK, 80-82% have had two jabs and 27-30% have had a top-up to their immunity.

The difference in those percentages means there are lots more people vulnerable to the disease in Northern Ireland, which gives the virus the opportunity to spread.

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Why the recommendation to work from home?

Evidence suggests it is the most effective of all the restrictions used to control the virus.

It reduces contact with other people – while commuting and in the office – and that limits the potential for the infection to spread.

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