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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: NI-wide restrictions to come into force as two deaths and 125 new Covid cases reported

  • Tighter restrictions to come into force across the whole of Northern Ireland from 6pm on Tuesday to limit contacts between households
  • Official death toll by Department of Health rises to 577 people
  • Warning UK could face 50,000 cases and 200 deaths a day in coming months
  • Scroll down to see how Monday unfolded

Northern Ireland-wide restrictions that will see a ban on households mixing have been announced after an urgent meeting of the Executive following a spike in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus at the weekend.

The ban on the mixing of households indoors, with some exemptions, was initially introduced in areas such as Greater Belfast, Ballymena and parts of Co Armagh. It will be in place across Northern Ireland from 6pm on Tuesday.

The decision was made as First Minister Arlene Foster revealed that several outbreaks are being dealt with across Northern Ireland, forcing the Executive to take action ahead of an urgent COBRA meeting with the Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday morning.

"In this last 48 hours nearly 400 new cases have been reported," said Mrs Foster. "We are now dealing with outbreaks in every county."

Speaking at the Stormont press conference, she said: "For every home across Northern Ireland, there will be no mixing of households indoors, with exemptions for bubbling with one other household, caring responsibilities including childcare, essential maintenance, supported living arrangements, and visits required for legal or medical purposes, or marriage or civil partnerships where one partner is terminally ill.

"No more than six people gathering in a private garden from no more than two households, exempting children twelve and under" will be allowed outdoors.

Mrs Foster highlighted the difficulty of regulating gatherings in domestic properties when dealing with the spread of the virus.

"It is clear that it is in the environment where we feel safe and relaxed where we drop our guard, she said. "It is gathering in domestic properties where most of the virus transmission is occurring. Other environments away from the home can be better controlled and regulated.

"This is not a return to lockdown," she insisted. "Doing nothing was not an option but neither is returning to full lockdown," she said.

This is not a return to lockdown Arlene Foster

Earlier it was announced that there have been two further deaths and 125 new cases of Covid-19 reported in Northern Ireland.

The deaths, which occurred on Friday and Saturday, bring the total death toll to 577 people.

Out of the 3,380 people tested for the virus in the last 24 hours, 125 individuals returned positive results. The total number of infections is now 9,466 since testing began.

In Northern Ireland 33 patients are in hospital with Covid-19, with five in intensive care.

There are 30 active outbreaks in care homes.

Meanwhile, the UK could be facing 50,000 new Covid-19 cases a day by mid-October leading to 200 deaths a day in November if the current rate of infection is not halted, the Government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has warned.

"At the moment we think the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days," Sir Patrick said.

"If, and that's quite a big if, but if that continues unabated and this grows doubling every seven days... if that continued you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day.

"50,000 cases per day would be expected to lead a month later, so the middle of November say, to 200-plus deaths per day.

"The challenge therefore is to make sure the doubling time does not stay at seven days."

Scroll down to see how Monday unfolded:

Belfast Telegraph