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Coronavirus: Health Minister Swann does not rule out tightening restrictions NI-wide

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Previous lockdown restrictions that were previously relaxed could be reimposed

Previous lockdown restrictions that were previously relaxed could be reimposed

Previous lockdown restrictions that were previously relaxed could be reimposed

Robin Swann has not ruled out the tightening of Covid-19 restrictions Northern Ireland-wide.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, the Health Minister said he would be recommending to other ministers that restrictions - either localised or NI-wide - should be made during an "important" Executive meeting tomorrow.

"The message is simple. The summer is over," he said.

"In common with other jurisdictions we have decisions to make on how we stem a disturbing increase in Covid cases.

"I believe concrete action is now necessary."

His comments come after the Prime Minister announced that gatherings of more than six people - either indoors or outside - are to be illegal from next Monday.

"Our case numbers have been rising sharply, and... more people of older age are beginning to test positive," explained Mr Swann.

"Infections will spread to the medically vulnerable.... Once again I am asking for everyone's helping in stemming the spread. It may avoid the need to introduce more drastic actions down the line."

Stressing that Covid-19 "remains a life and death issue", he added that "non-compliance" had been what has brought "us to where we are now".

Professor Ian Young, chief scientific officer said there has been a 20-fold increase in the number of cases in recent times compared to just a five-fold rise in the number of tests.

The daily average is now over 90.

Chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride said: "We are now at a crossroads, individually and collectively.

"As a society we have stark choices to make."

He added: "We face a long and uncertain autumn and winter."

Belfast Telegraph