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Statement on response to COVID-19 on the island of Ireland

Today a call was held to discuss the response to COVID-19 on the island of Ireland. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis and the Tánaiste, Simon Coveney jointly chaired the meeting with the First Minister Arlene Foster, deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, Health Minister Robin Swann and Minister for Health Simon Harris all participating.

Following the discussion, all the participants expressed their deep gratitude for the remarkable dedication and efforts of health workers, officials and all working to respond to COVID-19.

They agreed that, as the COVID-19 pandemic does not respect borders, there is a compelling case for effective cooperation North-South and East-West.

They reaffirmed the message from the meeting of Ministers in Armagh on 14th March that everything possible will be done in co-ordination and cooperation between the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, and with the active involvement of the health administrations in both jurisdictions, to tackle the outbreak. Protection of the lives and welfare of everyone on the island is paramount, and no effort will be spared in that objective.

They welcomed the ongoing contact and cooperation between the respective Health Ministers, working in close conjunction with the Chief Medical Officers, for the mutual benefit of all.