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.
Health Minister @RobinSwannMoH explains he will not hesitate to recommend new restrictions, saying we are on a 'knife-edge.'— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) September 16, 2020
"I don't want to restrict anyone's daily lives. I do not want to return to a lockdown."
"I am not going to sit on my hands and do nothing." pic.twitter.com/VDoGainsJC
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.
Roisin Devlin Lead Nurse in Emergency Department, Ulster Hospital, says: "Never have I seen my colleagues so worried about the upcoming winter."— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) September 16, 2020
"Please do not be complacent. Please keep your distance. Please wash your hands. Please wear a face covering." pic.twitter.com/bTmbzucG7O
“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.”