Belfast, Jan 22 (IANS) Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster announced that coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the region will be extended until March 5 amid surging infections.
It is believed that restrictions may have to remain in place until after the Easter holidays in order to continue pushing down the rate of transmission, Xinhua news agency reported.
Northern Ireland entered a six-week lockdown on December 26, 2020, with Ministers reviewing the situation on Thursday.
Schools are also closed to most pupils in the region until after half-term in February.
The current restrictions are expected to remain in place until March, but according to Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Robin Swann, it was “possible” they could be needed until Easter, which falls in the first week of April this year.
The latest development came after the UK’s coronavirus death toll surpassed the grim milestone of 90,000 on Tuesday.
England is currently under the third national lockdown since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country.
Similar restriction measures are also in place in Scotland and Wales.
The British government is only responsible for lockdown restrictions in England.
The devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are responsible for their own policies in relation to public health matters.
Northern Ireland has so far reported 97,619 coronavirus cases and 1,671 deaths.