Northern Ireland news

Robin Swann will ask Executive to extend lockdown until March 5 - report

Robin Swann said there are still "massive numbers" of Covid patients in hospital
Digital Staff

Health minister Robin Swann will ask his Executive colleagues to extend the current lockdown measures until March 5th, when it meets later this afternoon, according to reports. 

A six-week lockdown began on 26 December to help control a surge in Covid-19 cases.

On Wednesday, there were 832 Covid-positive patients in hospital, 67 of whom were in intensive care units.

While it is thought hospital numbers have peaked, Mr Swann said intensive care pressures were likely to increase in the next week.

He announced yesterday that more than 100 medically-trained military personnel will be deployed in the north.

Mr Swann said he will be bringing a paper for ministers to consider around restrictions.

While he did not reveal his recommendations, he said that this is “not the time to open any floodgates”.

A four-week extension of the measures would bring the lockdown in line with schools, which will not reopen until after half term in late Februrary, at the earliest. 

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride warned that the virus would not "magically disappear" on February 6.

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