Robin Swann: 'There is a need for further restrictions to limit the spread of Coronavirus in NI'

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Health Minister Robin Swann

By Q Radio News and PA Reporters

Stormont health minister Robin Swann has warned there is a need for further restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus in Northern Ireland.

Mr Swann said the powersharing executive would discuss what steps would be introduced at a meeting on Thursday. He said it would be decided whether the restrictions would be region-wide or on a localised basis.

The minister said the region was at a “crossroads” and said the trajectory of hospitalisations would exceed the first wave of the virus within six weeks if infections continued at their current rate.

Mr Swann said he was now more concerned than at any point in the pandemic.

He had a stark message for those flouting restrictions.

“Please examine your conscience – this isn’t a game,” he said.

“It’s not a rehearsal, because we will only get one chance to get this right.”

Mr Swann said he would not be taking a Northern Ireland-wide “circuit-break” lockdown off the table.

However, he said he did not expect one to be introduced on Thursday, as there were too many local variations on infection rates across the region.

Asked if the Halloween break might see such a move, Mr Swann suggested that could be a “timely” juncture, as it would coincide with school holidays.

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