Coronavirus: Murphy wants ‘urgent’ chancellor funding meeting

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Conor Murphy said the virus has had a ‘much more rapid growth than anticipated’

Stormont’s Finance Minister Conor Murphy has asked Chancellor Rishi Sunak for an “urgent” meeting relating to additional Covid-19 funding for NI.

He was speaking after the executive met on Monday.

The executive has not made any further decisions on imposing more restrictions, but Mr Murphy said ministers will meet again on Thursday.

He said his “first priority” was to ensure the health service can cope with tackling the virus.

The first and deputy first ministers are expected to reach out to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Micheál Martin about the next steps across the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

On Monday, 616 new cases of Covid-19 were identified in Northern Ireland, bringing the total during the pandemic to 14,690.

The number of deaths recorded by the Department of Health remains at 584.

Mr Murphy also confirmed he was looking at a number of options for new financial support measures for Derry and Strabane, where new restrictions on hospitality have come into force.

“There are some options in relation to support for Derry and Strabane, it may be that we are looking in the not-too-distant future for support in other areas,” he said.

Asked for an estimate of how much financial support may be needed, Mr Murphy said his officials had “not gotten to that extent yet”.

He said it would depend on the severity of any further restrictions imposed.

“The level of support will depend on the level of restrictions, the virus has had a much more rapid growth than anticipated,” he added.

BBC News