The PSNI is to be given the power to return people to their homes as part of a raft of tough new Covid restrictions.
The advice to stay at home is to be strengthened with regulations which come into force at midnight tomorrow.
People will only be allowed to leave home for medical needs, to buy food or to exercise. Those who cannot work from home will also be allowed to leave.
The new rules will be in place until at least February 6.
Connor Bamford, a virologist from Queen’s University, said: “We’re in a worse place than we were in March and I think it’s going to take at least three months to get the virus back under control.”
It was also confirmed schools will use remote learning until mid-term.
There was no clarity last night over whether A-levels and GCSE exams will still go ahead this year.
However, it appears increasingly likely they will be called off, with an announcement expected tomorrow.
Earlier, there was uproar after the two private bodies hosting transfer tests said the January assessments would be called off — only for one to later state they still planned to go ahead with a test in February.