Northern Ireland news

Call to remain on Covid high alert as masks made compulsory

It is now compulsory to wear a mask in shops and other enclosed public spaces in Northern Ireland. Picture by Hugh Russell
Staff Reporter

PEOPLE have been urged to remain on "high alert" against Covid-19, as face coverings became mandatory in shops on both sides of the border.

The threat posed by the virus was underlined by the first recorded death in Northern Ireland in almost a month.

There were also 76 new cases over the weekend, with the daily rate having risen from just three or four in early July to more than 20 now.

Health minister Robin Swann said the latest death was very distressing news.

"We all have to remain on high alert," he said.

"There are practical and vital steps we can each take – including maintaining social distancing, washing our hands and wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces like shops."

Masks became compulsory in enclosed public spaces from yesterday and anecdotal evidence suggested shoppers largely observed the rule.

Breaches are punishable with a £60 fine, while the penalty south of the border is a fine of up to €2,500 or six months in jail.

A Covid spike has seen lockdown restrictions re-imposed in Counties Kildare, Laois and Offally, as figures show the Republic now has more cases per 100,000 people than the UK.

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Northern Ireland news