The 46-year-old DUP board member was hailed as “one of the really nice guys in local politics” after he died in hospital on Tuesday. It is known that he tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.
Paul Hamill, the former mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, was the father of two children.
DUP leader Sir Geoffrey Donaldson said his loss would be “deeply palpable”.
“Paul was a hardworking and dedicated representative of the people of the Macedon area and his loss will be deeply felt,” he said. “Having served as mayor of Antrim and Newtownby, Paul was well known and respected throughout the community.
“Paul brought extensive experience into his role as a public representative having worked in the industry before spending many years as a pastor. These skills and experience made him an invaluable part of our board team.
“We in the DUP have lost a dear friend and colleague, but my thoughts are with Paul Ruth’s wife, children, and the wider family circle.
“They will be in our prayers while Ruth mourns her husband and the girls try to understand the loss of their father.”
Prime Minister Paul Gevan also paid tribute to his fellow party member. Mr Jeevan said he understood Mr Hamill had died after contracting Covid-19. He added, “It is a tragic death for Paul. I know the circumstances have shocked us all within the party.
“Paul was a dedicated advisor, and he was committed to serving the local people. His heart was in serving the local community and this is a tragic loss.
“It brings back the fact that Covid is still with us, it affects people of all ages and that’s why we need to continue to make responsible decisions in managing Covid.”
Coalition Council member Tom Campbell tweeted of his fellow Antrim and Newtownabee Councilmen, saying: “Very sad news of the passing of our fellow Councilman, Paul Hamill. “One of the really nice guys in local politics, will be greatly missed.”
On Wednesday, North Korea’s Ministry of Health reported 10 more deaths of patients who tested positive for Covid-19.
Also, 1,304 new cases of the virus were confirmed.
Wednesday morning, there were 426 inpatients for Covid-19 in hospital, 36 of whom are in intensive care.
The latest numbers come as the executive branch considers plans to deal with the surge in Covid in the winter.
The first minister said the Executive would meet again next week to consider Covid measures amid fears across the UK that there could be a jump in hospital admissions in the coming months.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his winter plan to deal with Covid in England on Tuesday, and said some measures would be kept as part of the government’s Plan B if the NHS faced unsustainable pressure.
This included mandatory vaccinations passports and face masks and advising people to work from home.
During an appearance on the BBC, Mr Jeevan was asked if a similar scheme was being considered for Northern Ireland.
He said: We [the Executive] They will meet again on September 23rd. We’ve taken a number of very deliberate steps over the summer.
“England is farther away from us, we still have a number of areas where there are restrictions by regulation.
“But I have been clear throughout this process that whether it is about regulation or direction, we need to provide people with the best possible information so that they can make informed decisions regarding what is best for them and their personal circumstances.”
Asked if he was concerned about the winter spike in cases, Mr Jeevan said: “There are plans that are already in place, and that’s something we talked about in our last executive meeting, so there are plans to ramp up.
“I have been speaking with Chief Medical Officer, Sir Michael McBride, about this and the health services have already provided additional assistance but there are plans in place within the health service to meet winter requirements.
“There has been a long period of pressure on our health services over the past six/seven weeks. There hasn’t been the same rise as in previous waves, and we’re not seeing the same level of pressure on our critical care.
“However, it still matters when you have about 44/45 people in intensive care, so there is pressure on our critical care, and the health service is trying to continue to administer other elective procedures, and this is something that has been on previous occasions canceled surgeries and we are trying to reduce that As much as possible “. – PA
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