Brave Browser Fast and secure web browser  
No external plugins or adjustments required! The Brave web browser simply offers the most secure and incredibly fast web browser. Enjoy browsing without pop-ups YouTube or Web Advertising (pop-up blocker), malware and other annoyances.

¡Download Free!

Coronavirus: PSNI to focus enforcement 'in hotspot areas'

1 month ago 25
Robin Swann putting on a face maskImage copyright PA Media Image caption Robin Swann hit out at what he called 'armchair experts' for talking down the threat of the virus

The PSNI will focus enforcement action in so-called "hotspot areas" to curb the spread of coronavirus, Robin Swann has said.

Stormont's health minister made the announcement as he outlined new restrictions in response to a rise in cases.

From next week, indoor gatherings will be reduced from 10 to six people and outdoor meetings from 30 to 15.

Fifty-one new cases were reported on Thursday, with NI's total now at 6,556.

No further deaths have been recorded by the department, meaning its death toll remains at 559.

Districts 'with sharp Covid prevalence'

The executive met on Thursday to review the coronavirus regulations and Mr Swann had warned that in response to a tenfold rise in cases since the beginning of July, restrictions would need to be reimposed.

He announced that while the PSNI has been using enforcement as a last resort, certain council areas that have been experiencing a rise in cases need more attention.

"I believe it is particularly important in those districts which have seen sharp spikes in Covid-19 prevalence," he told a press conference at Stormont.

He cited Mid and East Antrim, which has seen cases rise in part due to a cluster of at least 35 cases in a meat plant in Cullybackey.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said there needed to be "right-touch, not light-touch" enforcement.

"People want to do the right thing but sometimes we all need to be reminded about that," he said.

At Thursday's press briefing, Mr Swann also announced new restrictions on the numbers of people allowed to meet together in Northern Ireland.

'No more easements'

Indoor gatherings will be reduced from 10 people from four different households to six people from two different households, and outdoor gatherings from 30 to 15 people.

The measure will come into force next week.

Research by health officials suggested that the rise in community transmission was mainly from "households and house parties", said the minister, which he said had also been replicated in parts of England and the Republic of Ireland.

Mr Swann also said the R-number in Northern Ireland is 1.3 at present - last week it was reported at 1.6.

R represents the number of individuals who, on average, will be infected by a single person with coronavirus.

Dr McBride said the executive was also unable to make any more easements at this time, regarding the remaining coronavirus restrictions.

The health minister did not announce details of localised lockdowns in any part of Northern Ireland.

Earlier the Public Health Agency (PHA) said local lockdowns were "inevitable" if efforts were not taken to halt the virus spreading.

Dr Gerry Waldron said Covid-19 had been spreading much quicker than the PHA expected after restrictions were eased earlier in the summer.

He said: "If things continue as they are going, I think it's [local lockdown] practically inevitable, but hopefully people will take heed of the issue."

Northern Ireland's rate currently shows 24 cases per 100,000 over the past 14 days, evidence that points to the virus spreading again, health officials have said.

In the Republic of Ireland, lockdown measures which had previously been lifted have been reversed - with restrictions placed on the numbers allowed to gather in indoor and outdoor spaces.

Indoor gatherings - excluding shops, restaurants and other businesses - are to be restricted to six people.

Those aged over 70 are again being asked to stay at home as much as possible, and it is recommended that people work from home and avoid public transport.

On Wednesday, the Republic of Ireland's Department of Health recorded two deaths from the virus and an additional 54 cases.

There have now been 1,775 Covid-19 related deaths in the country and 27,547 cases.

Read Entire Article