Localised Covid-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland become legally enforceable.

Robin Swann

By Q Radio News and PA

Localised Covid-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland have become legally enforceable.

Residents in areas such as Belfast and Ballymena are barred from visiting other households.

Police powers were introduced to stem an increase in cases of coronavirus.

Postcode areas may be added and removed from the local restrictions as patterns of infection change and further interventions and restrictions can be introduced as necessary.

Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann said: “Last week, the Executive made the difficult decision to introduce localised restrictions and sought the good will of the public to adhere to that request.

“I am very aware of the difficulties some of these restrictions might cause, however the decisions were not taken lightly.”

An interactive map has been produced showing the restricted areas.

Mr Swann added: “Keeping the population safe and healthy is my top priority and in order to limit the spread of Covid-19 we need to restrict contact between people, particularly within the restricted areas.”

The new virus restrictions come as Stormont's Health Minister Robin Swann condemned what he branded “deplorable” behaviour of some students who have been gathering for house parties in the Holylands area of Belfast.

“Dangerous, anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated,” he said.

Mr Swann said Northern Ireland was on a “knife edge” in regard to the prospect of a major new wave of infections.

“I also want to make clear that I will not hesitate to recommend tighter restrictions if they are needed,” he said.

Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing at Stormont was  also addressed by a senior nurse at the Ulster Hospital.

Roisin Devlin urged people to abide by Covid-19 regulations.

“Never in my career have I seen colleagues so concerned about the incoming winter,” she said.

“We have no agenda. We’re simply worried for our patients.”

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