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Numbers using Northern Ireland roads rising again after lockdown dip

Nichola Mallon said the public must help restrict the spread of coronavirus by only making ‘essential journeys’.

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(Liam McBurney/PA)

(Liam McBurney/PA)

(Liam McBurney/PA)

The number using Northern Ireland’s roads is on the rise again after a major dip during lockdown.

Official figures show an overall reduction in traffic flows of up to 65% compared with the pre-lockdown normal, but that figure had dropped to 58% last week.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: “Last week, while there was still a 58% reduction, we are seeing an increase in those travelling on our roads.

“For many the reasons will be legitimate, but the need to continue to restrict our travel remains.

“We must restrict the spread of the virus by only making essential journeys.”

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Nichola Mallon (Liam McBurney/PA)

Nichola Mallon (Liam McBurney/PA)

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Nichola Mallon (Liam McBurney/PA)

Work is under way at Stormont to understand why more people are making journeys and what can be done to help keep drivers at home.

People are allowed to travel for work, food shopping and medical reasons.

Police are planning more enforcement over the bank holiday weekend.

Ms Mallon added: “Lockdown isn’t easy – especially as the good weather continues and the bank holiday weekend approaches.

“Over the past seven weeks, it is clear that people in Northern Ireland are helping to protect the health service, family and friends by following health advice and staying at home unless making an essential journey, and traffic flows are backing that up.

“Your actions this weekend won’t just affect you but all of us who share this place. Please listen to public health advice and stay home to save lives this bank holiday weekend.”

PA