Breaking News: Northern Ireland tightens lockdown rules with ‘police enforcement’ of limits on groups

Northern Ireland is tightening its coronavirus lockdown restrictions by reducing the number of people allowed to meet, as it fights a rise in Covid-19 cases.

THE announcement came moments before it emerged the nation’s R number – the average number of people each infected person transmits the virus to – had surged to 1.6. In a news conference at Stormont, health minister Robin Swann said groups who meet outdoors would now be limited to 15 – down from 30.

Groups meeting indoors will be limited to six people from two households. That is a reduction from 10, from two households. From next week the number of people who can participate in an outdoor gathering will be reduced from 30 to 15 people.

While previous exemptions will apply, organisers of events will be required to carry out a risk assessment and put suitable measures in place for any gatherings of more than 15 people. This applies to weddings, church services and sporting events. The current limit on people meeting in a private dwelling has been reduced to six people from no more than two households – cut back from 10 individuals from up to four households.

Mr Swann added: “These are decisions that I did not want to take. But unless we take action now I fear it would soon be too late to arrest the further extensive spread of the virus.” Mr Swann confirmed that there will be no further relaxations of any other measures.

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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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