North’s Executive to discuss further easing of the Covid-19 restrictions

Department of Health in North reports 113 new cases, no further deaths on Wednesday

Outgoing Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster (left) and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill  at the launch of the PGA Europro Tour event at Clandeboye Golf Club near Bangor, Co Down on Wednesday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Outgoing Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster (left) and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill at the launch of the PGA Europro Tour event at Clandeboye Golf Club near Bangor, Co Down on Wednesday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

The North’s Executive is to discuss further easing of the Covid-19 restrictions when it meets later on Thursday.

The outgoing First Minister Arlene Foster of the DUP said ministers would discuss international travel as well as the potential relaxing of rules around hugging, which will soon be allowed again in other parts of the UK.

Ms Foster said they had noted these developments but it would be “absolutely wrong” to prejudge what ministers will decide.

“We will want to discuss that tomorrow, it is something we are discussing today amongst ourselves as well,” she said on Wednesday.

“We know that there are a lot of people who have been waiting for that time, I know certainly I have in terms of my own mother, so I am looking forward to being able to have those discussions tomorrow,” she said.

The Deputy First Minister, Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Féin, said ministers were “hoping that we’ll be able to make some progress around all these things, we are in a really good place in terms of the pandemic, we are winning.

“The Covid vaccine continues to be first class, so if things keep moving in the right direction we hope to be able to lift even more of the restrictions that are in place and get back to some sense of normality,” Ms O’Neill said.

On Wednesday the North’s Department of Health reported 113 new positive cases of coronavirus, and no further fatalities. It leaves the total number of deaths recorded by the Department at 2,148.

Ms Foster and Ms O’Neill were speaking during a visit to Clandeboye Golf Club in Bangor, Co Down, on Wednesday after it secured the hosting of the PGA EuroPro Northern Ireland Masters Golf Tournament from August 16th-21st, which has been welcomed as potentially indicating the return of events to Northern Ireland.