Non-essential stores in NI will be closed from the end of trading on Christmas Eve to stop the spread of Covid-19

Close contact services such as hair salons must be closed, and pubs, cafes and restaurants are limited to take-away services

In the first week of the lockdown, which lasts until the 2nd January expires, even stricter measures will be put in place as important stores close by 8:00 p.m. GMT every day

Sports events are not permitted at all – not even at the elite level – as people are only asked to leave their homes for essential reasons

Deputy First Secretary Michelle O’Neill said she recognized the lockdown would be “disappointing” for many people, but it was clear that “longer and deeper intervention” was needed

“Health care would be completely depressed in January if we didn’t intervene now While this is draconian, it’s about saving lives, “she said

“We have never been in such a bad position as we are now and will be in January if this has not happened now”

Health Secretary Robin Swann, who proposed the package of measures, said it was the “deepest and toughest” decision ministers have faced since the pandemic began

“There was no other way and the news of Boxing Day [26 December] reads “work from home and stay home” “he added,

It is understood that people are also not allowed to meet others in private gardens, while restrictions on visiting houses indoors remain in place

It is anticipated that the Education and Health Departments will prepare a package of interventions and that further discussions will take place on the matter

Mr. Swann also announced that by Thursday night, almost 10000 people in Northern Ireland had received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine

Dr Michael McBride, NI chief medical officer, said the situation “doesn’t get any more serious than this”

“These interventions and restrictions are absolutely necessary and I know they will be cause for concern However, if we want to get this virus under control and relieve our hospitals, they are absolutely necessary, “he said

He urged people “not to wait after Christmas” in order to reduce the number of their social contacts

People from up to three households in Northern Ireland can still meet in so-called Christmas bubbles during the holiday season

What follows is an earlier agreement between the British nations to abide by plans to have three households settle between Jan. and 27 December may mix

Anyone traveling to or from Northern Ireland has a and 28 December an extra day on both sides

The new lockdown is being imposed in response to the increasing number of cases of the virus in Northern Ireland

Another 12 Covid-related deaths were recorded in NI and another 656 cases of the virus as of Thursday

Hospitality Ulster said the decision to impose a lockdown is the news the industry has “feared for some time”

Its managing director Colin Neill said he understood why this was necessary but would “kill the death knell” for many companies that would not survive the six weeks

“The sector is now in desperate need of financial assistance at the right level to offset past debts incurred in the race to keep Covid safe and to ensure it is covered during this lockdown, weeks if not months will take to find out”,” he said

The Northern Ireland Retail Consortium said it wanted the executive to “provide urgent clarity” on the criteria for reopening retail after the lockdown

“We also need buyers who continue to act responsibly in the shopping days remaining until Christmas,” said director Aodhán Connolly

“Wear face-covering in the store, keep your distance in line, wash your hands, allow extra time for shopping, avoid peak hours, and most importantly, be kind to staff and other shoppers”

“Make no mistake – this third lockdown will cause an independent retailer tsunami to fall and thousands more jobs to be lost and permanent damage to our local highways,” he added

Officials pledge to act swiftly to approve Moderna vaccine after it has been approved by a panel of experts

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Northern Ireland lockdown

World News – UK – Coronavirus: NI to be available from 26 December before a six-week lockdown