Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Executive agrees tough new restrictions in bid to bring pandemic under control before Christmas


The Northern Ireland Executive has tonight agreed to introduce a two week circuit breaker to slow the spread of Covid-19 and protect the health service.

he new restrictions will cover two weeks from November 27 and the current restrictions will remain in place until then.

The measures agreed tonight by the Executive are:

  • Closure of all retail except essential retail that was permitted to stay open in March
  • Closure of close contact services
  • Closure of all hospitality (except for accommodation for essential travel). Takeaway and delivery, and food and drink in motorway services, airports and harbour terminals remain open
  • Closure of all leisure and entertainment, including all soft play areas, gyms and swimming pools
  • Sporting events only permitted for elite sport and elite sport will take place behind closed doors
  • No household gatherings of more than one household, other than current arrangements for linked households (bubbles), with current exceptions for caring, maintenance, house moves etc
  • Closure of places of worship except for weddings, civil partnership and funerals. 25 people max for weddings and funerals
  • Stay at home, work from home if possible and only leave home for essential purposes
  • Schools and childcare to remain open
  • Public parks and outdoor play areas remain open
  • A financial support package to be developed over next few days

The Executive took the decision to introduce the measures after modelling showed this was the best time to introduce restrictions and avoid the likelihood of further restrictions before Christmas.

Ministers were told the R number has settled at around 1 and that while the current restrictions has had some positive impact, hospital inpatients numbers are still at a higher level than the first wave and are declining slowly.

Close contact services and cafes due to reopen on Friday can still do so for one week only. However they will have to close again on November 27.

It comes after the Department of Health announced that 487 more people had tested positive for Covid-19 after 8,781 tests were carried out on 3,134 people on Wednesday.

A total of 48,716 people have tested positive for the virus in Northern Ireland since the pandemic began.

Over the past week 3,401 people have tested positive for the virus, with 616 in the Belfast council area and 530 in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon.

In Northern Ireland’s hospitals there are currently 456 Covid-19 inpatients with 41 in intensive care units.

Hospital bed occupancy currently stands at 100%, with 31 intensive care unit beds remaining free.

Across care homes there are currently 166 active outbreaks of the virus.

Belfast Telegraph

Source: Irish News