Foster and ONeill discuss PMs Covid-19 plans

Foster and ONeill discuss PMs Covid-19 plans

The first and deputy first ministers have spoken to NI’s health officials following announcements of tighter Christmas Covid-19 restrictions in GB.

Arlene Foster said she had “a useful briefing” with the health minister, chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser.

Michelle O’Neill said they were keeping the situation “under review”.

It comes after scientists said a new coronavirus variant is spreading more rapidly.

The planned relaxation of Covid rules for Christmas has been scrapped for large parts of south-east England and cut to just Christmas Day for the rest of England, Scotland and Wales.

“This is an evolving situation with the virus mutation,” Mrs Foster tweeted.

“Essential that we all play our part by following the regulations.”

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said it is “a fast moving situation”.

She said discussions with health officials will continue over the weekend.

“We all need to limit our interaction with others – stay at home,” she added.

A statement from the NI Executive is imminent, BBC News NI understands.

It comes as Saturday’s figures show a further 17 Covid-linked deaths were recorded in NI and there were a further 640 cases of the virus, bringing the Department of Health’s death toll to 1,183.

A six-week lockdown has been announced for NI, which will begin on 26 December.

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