New Covid-19 lockdown restrictions to be recommended to NI Executive tomorrow

The Health Minister, Robin Swann, has implied he will recommend new Covid-19 restrictions to the Northern Ireland Executive when it meets on Thursday.

Wednesday, 18th November 2020, 6:42 pm

Minister Swann did not enter in any sort of detail of what the restrictions might be but he was clear about what he thinks Northern Ireland needs to take control of the spread of Covid-19.

The Executive is due to start discussing what new restrictions, if any, will be introduced when the current measures expire on Friday November 27.

The Executive agreed a two week extension to the ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown last Friday.

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Health Minister Robin Swann during a press conference in Parliament Buildings, Stormont, on the latest coronavirus situation.

The new measures were supported by the DUP, the UUP and the Alliance Party but Sinn Fein rejected the proposals and the SDLP abstained.

Minister Swann admitted that whilst he supported the new measures last week, he still believes they do not go far enough in effectively driving down the rate of infection.

Minister Swann, who was speaking at Covid-19 press briefing in Stormont on Wednesday evening, also called on all political leaders in the Executive to “take the right decision” when weighing up what is needed to drive down the rate of infections.

“If I have to recommend more interventions I will,” said Health Minister Swann.

Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael McBride and Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor Ian Young, also provided statements at the press conference.

Professor Young explained how the R-number (the rate at which Covid-19 is transmitted) had increased to approximately 1.0 after children returned to school after the mid-term break.

Dr. Michael McBride supported Health Minister Swann when he said the current restrictions were not enough to get Northern Ireland’s health service through the next few weeks, never mind the entire winter.

The Department of Health confirmed an additional nine Covid-19 related deaths in the last 24 hours and an additional 518 new infections.

It takes the Covid-19 death-toll to 889 and the total number of cases since the pandemic started in March to 48,229.