Coronavirus lockdown restrictions have been extended in Northern Ireland

The Executive made the announcement today

The Northern Ireland Executive have announced today that lockdown restrictions are to be extended across the full six counties, as the battle against Covid-19 continues.

The announcement came following the extension of restrictions across all Belfast postcodes as well as in parts of Lisburn and Ballymena in previous weeks.

The move also comes as evidence of mitigating the virus has been found in areas like Ballymena which has been under further restrictions.

However, with rising cases and specific hospitals coming under increased pressure such as Craigavon Area Hospital and Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, the new restrictions have been dubbed as still remaining unclear.

The lockdown restrictions have been criticised as bars and restaurants continue service as normal: Image: SWNS.

Under the new guidance, nobody is allowed to mix households unless doing so under the grounds of certain exemptions. These include for the provision of essential maintenance, childcare arrangements and for legal and medical purposes.

However, the guidance does permit that up to six people can meet in a private garden environment.

The moves also comes as over 1000 cases were recorded across the entire island of Ireland, sparking a real ‘wake up call’, according to Deputy First Minister, Michelle O’Neill MLA.

Devolving these cases, 125 were recorded in Northern Ireland according to the Department of Health dashboard.

The R rate presently stands at 1.4 but in some specific areas is as high as 2. Health Minister Robin Swann MLA added that with this “everyone must play their part by following public health advice”.

The announcement was also made today as Queen’s University Belfast welcomed back students for the commencement of the 2020/2021 academic year.

The new restrictions will be effective as of 6pm tomorrow (22nd September).

Cover image: Pacemaker/BBC