Sinn Féin's health spokesperson David Cullinane has said he welcomes the Government's decision to take action to control the coronavirus.

He said it was a "very grave situation and action is needed".

Mr Cullinane called for more investment in hospital intensive care units and in testing and tracing capacity.

He said he welcomed the reversal of cuts to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Employment Wage Subsidy schemes but said: "They don't go far enough".

Mr Cullinane also said he wanted the Government "to bring in the leading banks tomorrow" to ensure there are protections for mortgage holders.

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly called for a pathway to Christmas that gives people hope with clear, measurable targets on what is needed to get the country back down to Level 3 or lower.

In a statement he said: "Hope is important" and "that is why for the next six weeks there must be some level of measurability in relation to what we as a country need to achieve to get back down to Level 3. Such a target will give people hope.

"If we can do that so giving people a certain trigger point that we know will get us to a loosening of restrictions, it will build social solidarity that together we can have some form of Christmas even if that means just being able to travel home to see close family and friends".

Mr Kelly said that extra intensive care unit beds and the overall capacity of our health service "is still a major issue" and he repeated his call on the Government to nationalise some private hospital capacity.

Latest coronavirus stories