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Northern Ireland plan to emerge from coronavirus lockdown a 'five stage process', says Kearney

Northern Ireland's plan to emerge out of the lockdown will be a five-stage process, Executive Junior Minister Declan Kearney has revealed.

Speaking at Monday's daily Covid-19 briefing, Sinn Fein's Mr Kearney said pathway to recovery will be unveiled on Tuesday.

He said the five stages will be followed by a set of guiding principles: the "latest medical and scientific principles", the ability of our health service to cope and the wider societal impact.

Fellow DUP Junior Minister, Gordon Lyons said the stakes remain too high for complacency to set in.

"It will be a grave mistake to believe we have beaten Covid-19," he said.

"We just don't owe to the NHS, we owe it too ourselves."

He added: "Social distancing will be with us for a very long time."

Mr Lyons revealed the lifting of the lockdown will be "gradual and phased".

"After eight weeks of lockdown, I know many of us are desperate to get back to the life you had before the lockdown," he explained.

Mr Kearney stressed in light of the Prime Minister Boris Johnson's change of message from "stay home" to "stay alert", the message coming from the Executive remains unchanged: "stay at home, save lives".

"That's the message we want to see adhered to in our society," he said.

He also pointed out that the other devolved regions: Scotland and Wales - along with Northern Ireland - had rejected the Prime Minster's new messaging.

Mr Kearney also offered his condolences to the loved ones of a further three people who have died from Covid-19.

Belfast Telegraph