Northern Ireland lockdown restrictions have been extended to March 5th

Restrictions have been in place since St. Stephen’s Day

The Northern Ireland Executive has this evening announced a four week extension to restrictions, as the battle against coronavirus continues.

The move was made following proposals made earlier today from Health Minister, Robin Swann MLA, in light of a surge of cases and deaths here in the North, which have led to a remarkably overwhelmed NHS.

Present restrictions are the most extreme restrictions in Northern Ireland since the first lockdown last March and are also similar to the present Tier 4 restrictions across Great Britain with the exception of further restrictions in Scotland under SNP First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. 

QUB have announced that all semester two teaching will be online until at least March

So what does this mean? The Belfast Tab understands that no further restrictions have been added but that the current restrictions in place will remain until March 5th. This may well change as the Executive have committed to reviewing the restrictions on February 18th.

As it stands in Northern Ireland all restaurants and bars remain closed and are only open for takeaway or delivery. All non-essential retail will also remain closed and only essential services will be able to provide ‘Click and Collect’ services. Close contact services will also remain out of bounds, putting increased pressure on Infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon, as this also includes a continued pause on the delivery of driving lessons and tests.

This morning, prior to the announcement only just made by the NI Executive, Queen’s University Belfast announced in a campus communications email that all teaching for the upcoming semester will be delivered online for at least the month of February. This will however be subject to review in light of the coronavirus cases and deaths in Northern Ireland as the semester continues.

The NI Executive has announced no further restrictions other than four weeks of present restrictions

The decision comes following QUB’s blended learning approach at the start of the academic year, which seen all teaching delivered online from week five onwards.

However, as the NI Executive announces longer restrictions, the roll out of vaccinations against coronavirus is working at rapid speed. Within the coming days, the roll out of the vaccines is expected to begin into the next age group over over 75s.