Ready for the worst

AS an image it could hardly be more stark - or more terrifying.

Row upon row of freshly dug graves stretching into the distance are a chilling reminder of what may lie ahead as coronavirus continues its relentless march.

First there were dozens and then scores, and still the digging continues.

It is understood that new plots will soon be prepared in Crumlin, Ballyclare and Carnmoney - but for now the lion’s share will be situated at Sixmile Cemetery in Antrim.

By the time the machines fall silent it is understood that 300 graves will have been dug. Such a Herculean act of forward planning would have been frankly unimaginable just a few short weeks ago.

But we are living in extraordinary times, and the council firmly believes it demands an equally unprecedented response.

But they acknowledge that it can be a fine line between making sure they are ready for what may lie ahead and alarming their ratepayers.

And that was underlined when the first pictures of those empty graves emerged this week.

“The imagery shared in the public domain surrounding these preparations is stark, however we are tasked by government to plan on the basis of a reasonable worst case scenario, informed by the modeling and projections made by their experts,” a council spokesman told the Guardian.

“Of course like everyone, we sincerely hope these measures turn out to be unnecessary, but we must hope with our hearts, and plan with our heads.”

* Read the full story on page 2.

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