Ministers indicate move to remote learning for schools
Department of Health death toll rises to 1,366
There will be an extended period of remote learning for schools in Northern Ireland, the Executive has said.
In a statement on Monday night, the Executive said the Education Minister Peter Weir would bring forward a paper on the issue on Tuesday.
The Executive also agreed that it will move to put staying at home into regulations and a paper will be brought to the Executive tomorrow setting out the detail, including restrictions on travel, a spokesperson said.
"The Executive will consider further advice from the Department of Health setting out the public health situation and future implications, and Ministers will update the Assembly on Wednesday on the decisions they reach at tomorrow’s meeting," they added.
It's after a meeting between ministers on Monday evening to discuss the introduction of further lockdown measures to stem the spread of Covid-19.
Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said what was agreed would be formalised on Tuesday.
Earlier on Monday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a televised address at 8pm in which he set out new emergency measures to control the spread of coronavirus in England.
All schools in England are to move to remote learning only as part of the new measures announced by Mr Johnson.
On social media, deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill confirmed post-meeting that remote learning will be extended here, while there will be legal backing to the stay-at-home message. No decision is believed to have been taken on exams.
In addition to the restrictions already in place....Remote learning will be extended. Stay at home will be put in to regulation. Travel will be revisited. Education & Health Minister to bring detail of proposals to meeting of Exec tomorrow to include recommendations on exams— Michelle OâNeill (@moneillsf) January 4, 2021
It comes as Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said the health service here is likely to come under "extreme pressure" in the coming weeks due to the impact of the rise in cases in Covid-19 Northern Ireland.
Speaking to the BBC, Dr McBride said the current surge is due to a combination of factors, including the relaxation of restrictions pre-Christmas, the time of year and intergenerational mixing.
He said the "deeply troubling figures" are set to "work [their] way through admissions to hospitals, admissions to intensive care and sadly, deaths."
But he said advisors "don't yet think the new variant is playing a significant part", adding it is not yet the dominant strain.
"We can't undo the contribution of the Christmas period or the relaxations but what we can do is all act to make sure the situation doesn't get worse and that includes working to make sure this variant doesn't become established here.
Earlier on Monday, the Department of Health said a further 12 people have died in Northern Ireland after contracting coronavirus.
The death toll, according to the department, is now 1,366.
Ten deaths occurred between 10am on January 3 and 10am January 4, with one person passing away outside of the reporting period.
Another 1,801 people have tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of infections to 79,873 since reporting began.
There are 513 Covid patients in hospital in Northern Ireland, with 39 in intensive care. Twenty-nine patients are ventilated.
Hospital occupancy is 99% and there are 119 active outbreaks in care homes.
Here's how Monday unfolded: