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Northern Ireland Executive 'will look again' at relaxing coronavirus lockdown to allow meeting immediate family indoors


First Minister Arlene Foster

First Minister Arlene Foster

First Minister Arlene Foster

The Executive is expected to consider tomorrow whether people should be able to meet immediate family indoors.

First Minister Arlene Foster said ministers are "constantly reviewing" medical evidence.

A series of lockdown relaxations were announced in Northern Ireland on Monday, which included groups of up to six people who do not share a household being allowed to meet outdoors.

Garden centres and recycling centres reopened their doors and angling restarted, while churches and places of worship are to open for private prayer and golf is set to restart today.

Drive-in church services and entertainment will also be permitted.

Most of the moves are part of step one of the Executive's Pathway to Recovery plan.

However, not all the relaxations included in step one have been announced, including allowing people to visit immediate family indoors, where social distancing is possible.

Mrs Foster said it had been felt the issue should be deferred, adding that she appreciates there will be disappointment.

She also told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster that the Executive will look again at the matter on Thursday.

"I can't predict because I am not a virologist and I'm certainty not the Chief Medical Officer, but I'll give this commitment to the people of Northern Ireland, we are constantly reviewing the medical evidence behind all of this," she said.

"We will look again at this issue on Thursday of this week."

Yesterday, Health Minister Robin Swann was asked why up to six people from different households can meet outdoors while maintaining social distancing, compared to two people in England.

Mr Swann denied suggestions that it was a risky strategy.

"We looked at the number of six because it was socially acceptable - it looks like a reasonable group that we could actually manage," he said.

Belfast Telegraph