Police warning after officers break up end of school parties

Police say they had to separate end of school parties attended by young people flouting social distancing measures on Friday night.

The measures are in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus outbreak worldwide.

READ more here: Coronavirus: Why social distancing works

Northern Ireland’s schools closed on Friday 20 March amid concerns around the spread.

Police said young people had been gathering to mark the end of school and officers had to separate around 300 teenagers from areas across Larne and Carrickfergus.

The PSNI issued a warning urging party participants to consider the wellbeing of others and follow official guidance.

The news that youngsters were ignoring calls for social distancing came as asenior Belfast doctor warned huge numbers of patients will die during thecoronavirus pandemic.

Respiratory consultant, Dr Julia Courtney said: "It is hard to actually convey just the enormity of the crisis that is looming for the NHS, and so for everyone, in the next few weeks.

"Huge numbers of people will die and the only thing that will have any impacton this impending catastrophe is slowing the spread of this virus.

"This is the week that the most people who are infected without knowing itwill cause the virus to spread.

"What you do today will affect the intensive care unit (ICU) beds in thehospitals in the next two to three weeks.

"So please, please, please, stay at home if you can."

Speaking to the media earlier this week, Health Minister Robin Swann warned an estimated 15,000 coronavirus deaths could be possible in Northern Ireland in a worst-case “nightmare” scenario, if people do not adhere to measures in place.