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'I would love to take my three children to see their nanny indoors' - Mallon says no one is above the law during coronavirus restrictions

The infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon has renewed calls for government adviser Dominic Cummings to step down.

During the daily Executive briefing, Ms Mallon said no one could be above the law and also called on the UK government to request a Brexit extension.

It comes as the Department of Health announced two further deaths from coronavirus in Northern Ireland, bringing the total to 516.

In the UK, a further 412 deaths were confirmed on Wednesday bringing the total to 37,460.

In the Irish Republic, a further nine deaths were recorded on Tuesday bringing the total there to 1,615.

“I know many families have welcomed the news that we can now meet up outdoors, this isn’t a comfort for everyone," Ms Mallon said.

“I know for my family I would love to take my three small children to see their nanny indoors but that isn’t safe and that isn’t the rules.“We all, no matter who we are - government minister, special adviser, father, mother, grandfather and grandmother - we all must stick to the rules to keep each other safe.”

She added: “The rest of us are expected to follow the rules but if you’re in the elite in Number 10 it’s okay to follow your instincts. I think for that reason Dominic Cummings should go,” she said.

On Brexit, she said there was still no clear government plan for implementation and “the last thing anyone needs is a cliff edge of a Brexit that no one has prepared for.

“Anyone who is approaching this with common sense has to come to the conclusion that we need to be requesting an extension.”

On the issue of transport, Ms Mallon announced a seven month extension to driving licenses about to expire as well as the restart of some services from the Driver and Vehicle Agency including Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) tests.

She said Translink had been provided with extra fleet numbers to help maintain social distancing on essential journeys.

Passengers are currently advised, but not required, to wear face coverings.

“I must be honest with the public, there is still a lot to do and a long road ahead,” she said.

Looking to the future, Ms Mallon said a green travel pilot programme in Belfast - with pop up cycle lanes and pedestrianised streets - would soon be rolled out to Newry and Londonderry.

Belfast Telegraph