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Stick to social distancing rules to avoid exercise ban – Robin Swann

Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier warned he would take away exercise as a reason to leave home if too many flout the rules.

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Health Minister Robin Swann has urged the public to stick to social distancing rules to avoid an exercise ban (Press Eye/PA)

Health Minister Robin Swann has urged the public to stick to social distancing rules to avoid an exercise ban (Press Eye/PA)

Health Minister Robin Swann has urged the public to stick to social distancing rules to avoid an exercise ban (Press Eye/PA)

Northern Ireland’s health minister has urged the public to stick to social distancing rules to avoid an exercise ban.

Robin Swann was speaking after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he would take away exercise as a reason to leave home if too many flout the rules.

His warning came ahead of the Queen’s address to the nation, in which she will urge the country to prove that this generation is “as strong as any”.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock arrives at BBC Broadcasting House in London to appear on the Andrew Marr show (PA)

Health Secretary Matt Hancock arrives at BBC Broadcasting House in London to appear on the Andrew Marr show (PA)

PA

Health Secretary Matt Hancock arrives at BBC Broadcasting House in London to appear on the Andrew Marr show (PA)

Mr Swann said no one would want to take such a measure if it could be avoided.

“It can be prevented if everyone continues to do the right thing,” he said.

“That means staying at home, only going out if it’s necessary and keeping our distance if we do have to go out.

“I am very encouraged by the extent to which people across Northern Ireland are following the guidance.

“The message for this week is: stick with the fightback against Covid-19. We must never let our guard down if we want to protect ourselves, protect our health service and save lives. Any hints of complacency and impatience must be strongly resisted.”

He added: “I am keenly aware that any further restrictions on outdoor exercise could fall heavily on particular sections of our community, including those who do not have access to a garden or other outdoor space.

“That’s another reason why we must stick with the fightback and all that it involves.

“Stick together, stay apart and look after each other.”

PA