Northern Ireland Increases Covid Restrictions

The Chief Medical Officer of Northern Ireland, Dr Michael McBride, along with his counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales, has agreed to increase COVID restrictions in Northern Ireland. This moves Northern Ireland to Level 4 restrictions. The Northern Irish executive has agree to these restrictions. The new restrictions come into effect from 6pm on September 22, 2020. They included no mixing of households and no more than six people in a private garden.

The restrictions are:

  • No mixing of households in private dwellings, with exemptions for: bubbling with one other household; caring responsibilities including childcare; essential maintenance; supported living arrangements; visits required for legal or medical purposes; or marriage or civil partnerships where one partner is terminally ill.
  • No more than six people to gather in a private garden from no more than two households. Children aged 12 and under from those two households are discounted from this total.

First Minister Arlene Foster said: “We are at a critical point in the fight against the virus. People across Northern Ireland responded heroically earlier in the year to flatten the curve of infection and save lives. We need to dig deep and do that again and follow the public health advice to stop the spread of Coronavirus.”

The deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “These restrictions will only be in place for as long as necessary. We will keep the situation under close review and if needed, we will consider what other steps the Executive can take to keep people safe.”

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “By continuing to following the public health advice; to wash our hands, keep our distance, wear a face covering and download the StopCovid NI app, we can all do our bit to hold back the virus.”

The joint UK CMO statement reads: -

“After a period of lower COVID cases and deaths, the number of cases are now rising rapidly and probably exponentially in significant parts of all four nations. If we are to avoid significant excess deaths and exceptional pressure in the NHS and other health services over the autumn and winter everyone has to follow the social distancing guidance, wear face coverings correctly and wash their hands regularly. We know this will be a concerning news for many people; please follow the rules, look after each other and together we will get through this.”