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Coronavirus updates: Prime Minister orders UK lockdown as third person dies in Northern Ireland

  • PM Boris Johnson orders people to stay at home for three weeks
  • Strict restrictions to freedom of movement to be enforceable by police, with Stormont set to introduce emergency powers
  • Third death is recorded in NI, along with 20 new positive cases - bringing total to 148
  • The Mater Hospital becomes the Covid-19 hospital for Belfast Trust
  • 40,000 people in Northern Ireland asked to shield themselves from virus
  • Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill breaks down in Assembly

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered people across the UK to stay at home to slow down the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, as the third death linked to Covid-19 is recorded in Northern Ireland.

For the next three weeks, people are only allowed to leave their homes for the following reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, like food and vital supplies, as infrequently as possible
  • One form of exercise a day (alone or with members of the household)
  • Any medical need or to provide care for or help a vulnerable person
  • Travelling to and from work, if absolutely necessary

People are no longer allowed to:

  • Meet friends or family members who are not part of the household
  • Shop, except for essentials

At midnight:

  • All shops selling non-essential goods, libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship are to close
  • Gathering of more than two people will be banned (except of members of the same household)
  • Social events, like weddings and baptisms, are suspended. Funerals will continue to be held
  • Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed

“We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to,” Mr Johnson said in a televised address on Monday night.

I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives PM Boris Johnson

Earlier it was announced that a third patient died as a result of Covid-19 in a hospital in the greater Belfast area.

The patient was in their late sixties and had underlying health conditions.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “My heart goes out to the loved ones of this patient.

“This is the third tragic announcement of this kind I have had to make in recent days.

“The lethal threat from this virus is very real and we all have to do everything we can to combat it.”

Mr Swann warned the outbreak could “dwarf the impact of the Troubles”.

It comes after Northern Ireland’s first minister and deputy first minister urged non-essential workplaces to send their staff home if they could not social distance, warning they would soon have powers to enforce public health guidance.

At the daily Executive press conference both the DUP leader and Sinn Fein vice president emphasised how critical this week was to slow the spread of the virus and reduce the impact on the health service.

Mrs Foster said anyone not following the advice of the health authorities risked “a wave of deaths” as hospitals become overwhelmed.

Mrs Foster said “these are abnormal times requiring us to change our behaviour”.

We will, as other governments have done, use legislation to enforce social distancing Arlene Foster

“Unfortunately over the weekend we have seen individuals right across NI who are not heeding the advice on social distancing, in shops, on beaches, in holiday home parks and on our streets,” she said.

“By failing to implement social distancing and congregating on our streets they are putting their own and others lives at great risk.

“If you or anyone in your household has the symptoms of a high temperature and or a new continuous cough then you need to self-isolate now and stay at home for 14 days.”

Close

First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, pictured at the Northern Ireland Executive’s daily press update on the response to the Covid-19 crisis in the Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast.
Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, pictured at the Northern Ireland Executive’s daily press update on the response to the Covid-19 crisis in the Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, pictured at the Northern Ireland Executive’s daily press update on the response to the Covid-19 crisis in the Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said this week was the time the most people with the virus - and did not know it - would pass it on.

“We need everyone to put their shoulder to the wheel, “ she said.

“Only essential services should be in operation. We will take emergency powers and that will be in place soon. That will make sure that we are able to act where people aren’t acting.

“We will have the ability to move and be more stringent if it is necessary.”

Close down all non-essential services immediately and be part of the effort Michelle O’Neill

Mrs O’Neill added: “People should be assured that every single thing we are doing is about protecting lives. The powers that we seek are quite draconian powers but they are necessary in order to get us through what is an emergency situation.”

Both ministers urged people not to panic buy and leave others without.

It comes as the health service is to write to 40,000 people in Northern Ireland warning them they are particularly vulnerable because of their underlying health issues and to shield themselves from the virus.

Here’s how Monday’s events unfolded:

Belfast Telegraph