Explained: The new Northern Ireland coronavirus restrictions

  • Explained: The new Northern Ireland coronavirus restrictions

Explained: The new Northern Ireland coronavirus restrictions

The R rate is now estimated at between 1.5 and 1.6.

In the past 24 hours, 1,217 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health said.

The British-ruled region has become one of Europe's biggest COVID-19 hotspots in recent weeks.

Janice Gault, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, has also called for additional support for the hospitality sector.

Under the new restrictions, retail outlets will remain open, as will gyms for individual training. It is understood a 25-person limit will be placed on funerals and weddings, but wedding receptions are prohibited.

People will be advised to avoid unnecessary travel and work from home, while universities will be asked to teach remotely as far as possible.

Mass events involving more than 15 people (except for allowed outdoor sporting events where the relevant number for that will continue to apply) will be banned.

Off-licences will be required to shut at 8pm.

Close contact services such as hairdressers and beauticians are not permitted to open, apart from those relating to the continuation of essential health interventions and therapeutics.

She said private childcare and pre-schools could also remain open during the period of school closure.

The measures come into force at 6pm on Friday. In a statement to the Assembly, DUP leader Arlene Foster expressed concern for the rise in cases across Northern Ireland, urging the public to take on the role of breaking the chain of infection.

"We fully appreciate that this will be hard and worrying news for a lot of people", she told MLAs. We're not taking this step lightly.

Mrs Foster insisted the restrictions would not last any longer than four weeks.

At the same press briefing, Finance Minister Conor Murphy announced that a support scheme set up for businesses impacted by localised restrictions recently imposed on the Derry City and Strabane council area will to be extended to the rest of the Northern Ireland. We want these measures to have two impacts.

The restrictions prohibiting the mixing of households will remain in place.

There were 150 people in hospital with the virus, including 23 in intensive care.

In the last seven days, 6,394 people have returned positive test results.