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Omicron now accounts for 90% of Northern Ireland Covid cases, as Executive confirm no new restrictions

Ministers also announce changes to isolation period

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First Minister Paul Givan.

First Minister Paul Givan.

Health officials have announced changes to Covid testing in Northern Ireland on Wednesday.

Health officials have announced changes to Covid testing in Northern Ireland on Wednesday.

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First Minister Paul Givan.

There are to be no further restrictions introduced in Northern Ireland following an Executive meeting on Thursday, as ministers also announced changes to self isolation rules.

First Minister Paul Givan tweeted: “The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed no further restrictions at this time.

" We will continue to assess the data as more information emerges and meet again on 6th January. Thank you for following the health advice and helping us through this challenging time.”

Coronavirus Data Graphs

During the virtual meeting, information from health advisors briefing Executive ministers showed that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 now accounts for around 90% of cases in the region.

According to BBC NI, ministers at Stormont were given the information during a virtual meeting with officials in which the latest health papers were shared.

Following the meeting, the First Minister also confirmed rules around self isolation periods are to change from 10 days to 7 days subject to negative lateral flow tests taken on day 6 and 7.

Mr Givan confirmed this policy will apply retrospectively and takes effect on Friday.

It comes as the Department of Health reported on Wednesday a further 14 Covid-related deaths and 22,972 new cases of the virus in the five days from midnight on December 23 to midnight on December 28.

This is an average of around 4,600 cases each day, well above the previous daily record of 3,286. In Belfast alone, 4,195 cases were confirmed over the five-day period.

New restrictions have only recently came into force in Northern Ireland following the Christmas holiday.

Nightclubs here have been closed since 6am on Boxing Day and will continue to remain shut, including for the upcoming much anticipated New Year’s Eve celebrations.

People are also required to remain seated for table service in hospitality settings, while table numbers will be limited to six.

Ministers also agreed that sporting events can continue with no limits on capacity, while the work-from-home message is being bolstered and legislation introduced to require social distancing in offices and similar type workplaces.

Weddings are exempt from the latest measures.

From December 27, the guidance around mixing in a domestic setting was also amended to be limited to three households.


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