Tighter Covid restrictions for Derry City and Strabane

  • Video report by Gareth Wilkinson:

The NI Executive has announced tighter restrictions for the Derry City and Strabane council area.

Stormont leaders have agreed to limit hospitality venues to take-away, delivery or outdoor dining only.

Residents have also been advised to limit journeys to walking, cycling and private transport.

Working from home has also been strongly advised.

Under new restrictions, which will be reviewed in two weeks, all museums, galleries and cultural attractions will be forced to close.

Watch the latest coronavirus briefing:

'Cautious attitude has slipped':

Foyle MP Colum Eastwood said the 'cautious attitude' seen at the start of the pandemic 'has slipped'.

"People in the North West have been very good at following the public health advice, even when it appeared confusing or felt frustrating. But if we’re honest, the cautious attitude we all took at the start has slipped – people aren’t always wearing facemasks in shops, unnecessary journeys have become routine again and compliance is not as good as it should be."

He continued: "The hard truth is that unless people change their behaviour immediately, we’re going to lose more friends, neighbours and family members.

"Derry and Strabane has shown that it can step up when needed, it is now needed again and I know that people will do all that they can."

Surge in covid cases in last seven days:

There have been two coronavirus-related deaths in Northern Ireland in the last 24-hour reporting period, and 259 new cases, according to the Department of Health.

The latest figures bring the official death toll for the region to 581, but that figure is expected to be higher when deaths in all community settings have been accounted for.

There are been 1,979 cases in the last seven days – a large number of them in the Derry City and Strabane (486) and Belfast (425) areas.

Seventy people with Covid-19 are being treated in hospital – nine are in intensive care and seven are on ventilators.

There are currently 28 confirmed outbreaks in care homes across Northern Ireland and a further 11 suspected outbreaks.

New restrictions for Derry City & Strabane:

  • Hospitality venues limited to take-away, delivery or outdoor dining

  • Hotels to only permit services to residents and those who have booked weddings or funeral teas

  • All museums, galleries and cultural attractions to close

  • All unnecessary travel within the area to be avoided, as well as to and from

  • Residents advised to walk, cycle or use private transport if they need to travel

  • Residents advised to work from home, where possible

  • No spectators can attend sporting events

  • Indoor sports limited to individual training only, with group exercise classes on hold

First Minister Arlene Foster says new restrictions are 'by no means a lockdown':

  • Schools and colleges remain open, as well as childcare services

  • Church services can continue, with weddings and funerals permitted (restrictions remain on post-ceremony gatherings)

  • Sport matches can go ahead (but without spectators)

  • Outdoor gatherings of up to 15 people allowed in non-domestic settings

  • Those who run a business to other homes, or from their own, can continue their work