Coronavirus restrictions extended across Northern Ireland

  • Video Report by UTV Deputy Political Editor Tracey Magee:

Coronavirus restrictions have now been extended across Northern Ireland.

From 6pm on Tuesday, you cannot allow people you do not live with into your home, unless you're in a bubble; and you cannot allow more than six people to gather in your garden from more than two households.

Tighter restrictions were previously in place for only those living in the Belfast council area, Ballymena town and postcodes BT28, BT29 and BT43.

The announcement by First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill came amid rising numbers of cases here.

According to the Chief Scientific Advisor Professor Ian Young, the R number has risen to 1.4 and in some areas, the reproductive rate of the virus is around 2.

The DUP leader said this is not a return to lockdown, 'but doing nothing was not an option'.

Wet pubs reopening 'a confusing message':

Tighter restrictions are coming into force, despite wet pubs reopening on Wednesday.

Both the First and Deputy First Ministers accept this may seem confusing. However, Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill insist the virus is spreading in homes, therefore that is where restrictions are needed.

"I'll put my hands up and say I think it is actually a confusing message that you're moving towards opening up a sector, but the pub sector is the only part of the whole entire hospitality sector that hasn't opened, so I think you have to be reasonable about all that," said Michelle O'Neill.

Arlene Foster said: "I think it's counterintuitive for people when we say to them 'don't mix in your own homes' but you're still able to go out to restaurants and other hospitality venues.

"There's a perfectly good reason behind that because the virus is spreading in people's own homes because there isn't the same mitigations present."

Latest figures:

The Department of Health has recorded 75 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

The number of people who have tested positive in the last seven days is 963.

No new deaths have been recorded by the Department, so the death toll stands at 577.

The council areas with the most cases in the last week are Belfast (248), Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon (149) and Newry, Mourne and Down (144).

Coronavirus restrictions:

You cannot:

  • allow people you do not live with into your home, unless they’re in your support bubble

  • allow more than six people to gather in your garden, from more than two households

You can:

  • fulfil caring responsibilities, including childcare

  • travel in and out of the affected area, for example to go to work, but it is recommended that you should avoid unnecessary travel

  • attend a hospital appointment, dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services

  • fulfil any legal obligations