Coronavirus: First Steps to Facilitate NI Lockdown May Begin Next Week

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woman in garden center

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GLYN KIRK / AFP

Legend

Garden centers in England open to customers Wednesday


Arlene Foster said garden centers and recycling centers in Northern Ireland could reopen starting next Monday as part of the first steps to ease the lockdown.

On Tuesday, the executive released a five-phase plan to lift the restrictions, but it did not include a timetable.

The Prime Minister said that the updated medical advice meant that the executive could now approve the “interim first steps”.

Wedding ceremonies where a person is terminally ill will also be allowed.

Speaking at the executive’s daily press conference on Thursday, Foster said the executive was trying to be “open and transparent” with the public, and would post the thinking behind its decision-making on the website. from the Ministry of Health.

“Glow of light”

“When we asked where the R number is today, we were told it was less than 0.7 today, so that obviously has an implication,” she added.

Deputy Prime Minister Michelle O’Neill said implementing the first phase of the recovery plan was not a decision that was taken lightly.

“These are small, progressive steps that we are taking,” she added.

“Hopefully today is a small step or a glimmer of light for people. “

Read the full: The path to recovery from NI Executive

The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers have declared that the reopening of the centers could only take place if measures of social distancing were followed.

“It is important to note that any change in restrictions does not mean that we can soften our behavior in any way,” added O’Neill.

Earlier, the Department of Health reported five more Covid-19 deaths in Northern Ireland, mainly in hospitals, bringing its total to 454.

Three of the deaths have occurred since Wednesday, while the other two have occurred earlier, but have now been added to the department’s balance sheet.

These figures are one of two published in Northern Ireland – every Friday the statistical agency Nisra publishes its weekly update.

These statistics cover all deaths for which a coronavirus has been registered on the death certificate.

As of May 1, Nisra has registered 516 deaths linked to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

Why is the R rate important to lift the lock?

The R value – or reproduction number – is at the heart of the executive’s decision to keep the lock in place until at least the end of May, removing only a small number of measures that pose the least risk.

R refers to the average number of people that a person with Covid-19 should infect after contracting the virus.

The goal is to keep R under one.

Earlier this week, Foster said the R rate in NI was 0.79, dropping from 0.8 to 0.9 in the previous two weeks.

The Department of Health has stated that the R rate is calculated mainly on the intensive care occupation and hospital admissions, but that nursing home cases have essentially “no impact” on it.

The chief executive scientific adviser, Professor Ian Young, said that the R number in nursing homes in Northern Ireland is “significantly higher than 1.0 at the moment”.

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