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Localised coronavirus restrictions now legally enforceable

The new rules were brought in to stem the increasing rate of infections in areas like Belfast.

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Localised Covid-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland have become legally enforceable (Brian Lawless/PA)

Localised Covid-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland have become legally enforceable (Brian Lawless/PA)

Localised Covid-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland have become legally enforceable (Brian Lawless/PA)

Localised Covid-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland have become legally enforceable.

Residents in areas like Belfast and Ballymena are barred from visiting other households.

Police powers were introduced to stem an increase in cases of coronavirus.

Postcode areas may be added and removed from the local restrictions as patterns of infection change and further interventions and restrictions can be introduced as necessary.

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Robin Swann said the decisions to impose the restrictions were not taken lightly (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA)

Robin Swann said the decisions to impose the restrictions were not taken lightly (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA)

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Robin Swann said the decisions to impose the restrictions were not taken lightly (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA)

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “Last week the Executive made the difficult decision to introduce localised restrictions and sought the good will of the public to adhere to that request.

“I am very aware of the difficulties some of these restrictions might cause, however the decisions were not taken lightly.

“Regulations on the localised Covid-19 restrictions have now been laid, making them legally enforceable.”

The limits on social interaction between households in the Belfast council area, Ballymena town and postcode areas BT43, BT28 and BT29 were agreed by ministers last week and are now enacted in law.

Limited exceptions include childcare provision and households that have formed a social bubble with another.

No more than six people, from no more than two households, are allowed to meet in private gardens.

People have also been given guidance discouraging non-essential journeys outside the affected zones.

The Health Department has worked with Ordnance Survey NI (OSNI) to produce an interactive map that clearly shows which postcodes are restricted.

It is available via the NIDirect website and will be updated and produced weekly, ensuring there is no confusion in relation to where the restrictions apply, the Health Minister said.

He added: “Keeping the population safe and healthy is my top priority and in order to limit the spread of Covid-19 we need to restrict contact between people, particularly within the restricted areas.”

There have been two further deaths from Covid-19 reported in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health said on Wednesday.

There have been 129 new confirmed cases of the virus, making it 641 in the last seven days.

PA