Stormont Executive to discuss new Covid-19 restrictions

The Northern Ireland Executive will meet today to discuss proposals for new Covid-19 restrictions as the rate of infection and hospitalisations continue to rise.

Stormont's Minister for Health Robin Swann has said robust interventions are needed.

Political leaders have accepted that a two-week circuit breaker of tougher restrictions that ended last Friday did not work as well as they had hoped.

Their medical and scientific advisors have also expressed concern.

There were 510 new cases yesterday – the equivalent of over 1,300 in the Republic.

There is agreement that restrictions are needed, with the only questions when they will be imposed, and for how long.

Mr Swann is expected to present proposals for further measures at the Stormont Executive meeting.

Mr Swann has warned that Coronavirus will cast a shadow over Christmas and into the New Year, and that robust intervention is needed.

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Yesterday, Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister said there is "no doubt" that an intervention is required to gain control over the spread of coronavirus.

Michelle O'Neill said she intends to make the "right decision" around coronavirus restrictions, and "not the popular one".

"Christmas will be here next year also, it is a very difficult time, it is a very difficult decision to make as political leaders, sometimes you have to do the right thing, not the popular thing and in my mind what we need to do is whatever is right to keep people safe and to save lives," she said.

"I am up for doing whatever is required, so I'll work with Executive colleagues tomorrow to try and arrive at a position that actually delivers that."

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